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FAMILIAR to all as is the name this volume bears, 
it is not without hesitation that the following pages 
are given to the world. To subject the memorials of 
a deeply earnest life to the eyes of a generation over- 
crowded with books, raises a certain amount of 

Of Caroline Herschel herself most people will plead 
ignorance without feeling ashamed, and yet may we 
not assert that Caroline Herschel is well worth 

Great men and great causes have always some 
helper of whom the outside world knows but little. 
There always is, and always has been, some human 
being in whose life their roots have been nourished. 
Sometimes these helpers have been men, sometimes 
they have been women, who have given themselves to 
help and to strengthen those called upon to be leaders 
and workers, inspiring them with courage, keeping 
faith in their own idea alive, in days of darkness, 

When all the world seems adverse to desert. 

These helpers and sustainers, men or women, have 
all the same quality in common absolute devotion and 


vi Introduction. 

unwavering faith in the individual or in the cause. 
Seeking nothing for themselves, thinking nothing of 
themselves, they have all an intense power of sym- 
pathy, a noble love of giving themselves for the ser- 
vice of others, which enables them to transfuse the 
force of their own personality into the object to which 
they dedicate their powers. 

Of this noble company of unknown helpers Caroline 
Herschel was one. 

She stood beside her brother, "William Herschel, 
sharing his labours, helping his life. In the days when 
he gave up a lucrative career that he might devote 
himself to astronomy, it was owing to her thrift and 
care that he was not harassed by the rankling vexa- 
tions of money matters. She had been his helper and 
assistant in the days when he was a leading musician ; 
she became his helper and assistant when he gave him- 
self up to astronomy. By sheer force of will and devoted 
affection, she learned enough of mathematics and of 
methods of calculation, which to those unlearned seem 
mysteries, to be able to commit to writing the results of 
his researches. She became his assistant in the work- 
shop ; she helped him to grind and polish his mirrors ; 
she stood beside his telescope in the nights of mid- 
winter, to write down his observations, when the very 
ink was frozen in the bottle. She kept him alive by her 
care ; thinking nothing of herself, she lived for him. 
She loved him, and believed in him, and helped him, 

Introduction. vii 

with all her heart and with all her strength. She 
might have become a distinguished woman on her 
own account, for with the "seven-foot Newtonian 
sweeper " given to her by her brother, she discovered 
eight comets first and last. But the pleasure of seek- 
ing and finding for herself was scarcely tasted. She 
"minded the heavens" for her brother; she worked for 
him, not for herself, and the unconscious self-denial 
with which she gave up her own pleasure in the 
use of her " sweeper," is not the least beautiful 
feature in her life. She must have been witty and 
amusing, to judge from her books of " Eeeollections." 
When past eighty, she wrote what she called " a little 
history of my life from 1772 1778 " for'her nephew, 
Sir John Herschel, the son of her brother William, 
that he might know something of his excellent grand- 
parents, as well as of the immense difficulties which 
his father had to surmount in his life and labours. It 
was not to tell about herself, but of others, that she 
wrote them. There is not any good biography of Sir 
William Herschel, and the incidental revelations of 
him in these Eeeollections are valuable. They show 
how well he deserved the love and devotion she 
rendered to him. Great as were his achievements in 
science, and his genius, they were borne up and 
ennobled by the beauty and worth of his own inner 

These memorials of his father and his aunt were 

viii Introduction. 

much valued by Sir John Hcrschel, and they are 
carefully preserved by the family along with her 
letters. The perusal of them is like reading of another 
world. The glimpses of the life of a soldier's family 
in Hanover at the time the Seven Years' War was 
going on are very touching. Both father and mother 
must have been remarkable persons, and the sterling 
quality of character developed in William and Caroline 
Herschel was evidently derived from them. All the 
family seem to have been endowed with something 
like touches of genius, but William and Caroline were 
the only two w r ho had the strong back-bone of per- 
severance and high principle which made genius in 
them fulfil its perfect work. 

Her own recollections go back to the Great Earth- 
quake at Lisbon ; she lived through the American 
War, the old French Revolution, the rise and fall of 
Napoleon, and all manner of lesser events and wars. 
She saw all the improvements and inventions, from 
the lumbering post waggon in which she made her 
first journey from Hanover, to the railroads and 
electric telegraphs which have intersected all Europe, 
for she lived well down into the reign of Victoria. 
But her work of " minding the heavens " with her 
brother engrossed all her thoughts, and she scarcely 
mentions any public event. 

Her own astronomical labours were remarkable, and 
in her later life she met with honour and recognition 

Introduction. ix 

from learned men and learned societies ; but her 
dominant idea was always the same " I am nothing, 
I have done nothing ; all I am, all I know, I owe 
to my brother. I am only the tool which he shaped 
to his use a well- trained puppy- dog would have 
done as much.'-' Every word said in her own praise 
seemed to be so much taken away from the honour 
due to her brother. She had lived so many years in 
companionship with a truly great man, and in the 
presence of the unfathomable depths of the starry 
heavens, that praise of herself seemed childish 

The Letters and Eecollections contained in this 
volume will show what she really was. She would 
have been very angry if she could have foreseen their 
publication, yet, in consideration of the great interest 
they possess, we hope to be justified for making 
known to the world such an example of self-sacrifice 
and perseverance under difficulties. 

The spelling has been modernised, an old lady 
who had discovered eight comets might be allowed 
to spell in her own way ; but it is pleasanter to read 
what is written in an accustomed manner. A word 
has been altered occasionally where the sense required 
it, otherwise no change has been made, and as little 
has been added as was possible, and only with the 
view of giving a slight connecting thread of narrative. 

If these Eecollections convey as much pleasure 

x Introduction. 

to the readers of them as they have given to the 
Editor, they will feel that they have gained another 
friend in Caroline Lucretia Herschel. 

December, 1875. 


WHEN past ninety a second memoir was undertaken, and 
in order to encourage her to continue it her niece, Lady 
Herschel, wrote to her as follows : . . . . " Now, my 
dearest aunf, you must let me make an earnest petition 
to you, and that is, that you will go on with your memoir 
until you leave England and take up your residence in 
Hanover. How can I tell you how much my heart is set 
upon the accomplishment of this work ? . . . . You know 
you cannot be idle while you live. But indeed, if I could 
tell you the influence which a short account by a stranger 
of your labours with your dear Brother had upon me when 
a child, and of my choosing you (then so unknown to me) 
as my guiding star and example, you would understand how 
the possession of such a record by your own hand would 
make me almost believe in auguries and presentiments, and 
perhaps inspire some future generations more worthily, as 
the record would be more genuine." 

August 9, 1841. 

May we not echo this hope, and feel indeed that "SHE 


M. C. H. 













xii Contents. 








Portrait of Caroline Herschel. Frontispiece. 

Portrait of Sir William Herschel, after the original by Abbott, in 

the National Portrait Gallery, to face p. 118. 
Herschel's Forty-foot Telescope, to face p. 29. 




over on the 16th of March, 1750. She was the eighth 
child and fourth daughter of Isaac Herschel, by Anna 
Use Moritzen, to whom he was married in August, 
1732. The family consisted of ten children, four of 
whom died in early childhood. 

A memorandum in the handwriting of Isaac 
Herschel, transcribed by his daughter in the original 
German at the beginning of her Recollections, traces 
the family back to the early part of the seventeenth 
century, about which time, it appears that three 
brothers Herschel left Moravia on account of their re- 
ligion (which was Protestant), and became possessors of 
land in Saxony. One of these brothers, Hans, was a 
brewer at Pirna, a little town two miles from Dresden, 
and the father of two sons, one of whom, Abraham by 
name, was born in 1651, was the father of the above- 
mentioned Isaac, and the grandfather of Caroline 

2 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1675-1731. 

Lucretia Herschel. Abraham Herschel was employed in 
the royal gardens at Dresden, he received commissions 
from various quarters on account of his taste and skill 
as a landscape gardener. Of his four children, Euse- 
bius, the eldest, appears to have kept up little or no in- 
tercourse with his family after the father's death in 1 71 8. 
The second child, Apollonia, married a landed proprie- 
tor, Herr von Thiimer. Benjamin, the second son, died 
in his third year ; and Isaac, the youngest, was born 
14th of January, 1707, and was thus an orphan at 
the early age of eleven years. His parents wished 
him to be a gardener like his father, but a passionate 
love of music led him to take every opportunity of 
practising on the violin, besides studying music under 
a hautboy-player in the royal band. When he was 
about one and twenty he resolved to seek his fortune, 
and went to Berlin, where the style of hautboy play- 
ing was so little to his taste that he soon left it, and 
went to Potsdam, where he studied for a year under 
the celebrated Cappell Meister Pabrich, the means 
for so doing being supplied by his mother and sister ; 
his brother, as he quaintly remarks, contenting him- 
self with writing him letters in praise of the virtue 
of economy! In July, 1731, he went to Brunswick, 
and in August to Hanover, where he at once obtained 
an engagement as hautboy-player in the band of the 
Guards, and in the August following he married as 
above stated. 

Cn.\i>. i.j Early Recollections. 3 

The family group to which Miss Her^hePs auto- 
biography introduces us consisted of 

1. Sophia Elizabeth, born in 1733. [Afterwards 
Mrs. Griesbach.] 

2. Henry Anton Jacob, born 20th November, 1734. 
(4) 3. Frederic William, born 15th November, 1738. 
(6) 4. John Alexander, born 13th November, 


(8) 5. Carolina Lucretia, born 16th March, 1750; 

(10) 6. The little Dietrich, born 13th September, 

With the exception of frequent absences from 
home which attendance on a regiment made inevit- 
able, the family life went on smoothiy enough for 
some years, the father taking every opportunity, 
when at home, to cultivate the musical talents of 
his sons, who depended for the ordinary routine of 
education on the garrison school, to which all the 
children went from the age of two to fourteen. 
Here the splendid talents of William early dis- 
played themselves, and the master confessed that the 
pupil had soon got beyond his teacher. Although 
four years younger than Jacob, when the two brothers 
had lessons in French, the younger had mastered the 
language in half the time needed by the elder, and 
he in some measure satisfied his eager desire for know- 

B 2 

4 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1743-1753. 

ledge by attending out of school hours to learn all 
that his master could teach of Latin and arithmetic. 
At fourteen he was an excellent performer both on 
the oboe and violin. 

The first serious calamity recorded was the irrepar- 
able injury caused to the father's health by the hard- 
ships of war. After the battle of Dettingen (June 
16th, 1743) the troops remained all night on the field, 
which was soaked by heavy rains. The unfortunate 
bandmaster la} 7 in a wet furrow, which caused a 
complete loss of the use of his limbs for some time, 
and left him with an impaired constitution and an 
asthmatical o.ffection which afflicted him to the end 
of his life. During the dark times of the Seven 
Years' War, the little Caroline, then her mother's sole 
companion, often heard this grievous trouble spoken 
of, and the shadow of it cast a gloom over her childish 
recollections, most of which are of a sombre character. 
At three years old she was a deeply interested partici- 
pator in all the family concerns, and of that period she 
writes : 

" It must have been in 1753 when my brother [Jacob, 
aged 19] was chosen organist to the new organ in the 
garrison church ; for I remember my mother taking me 
with her the first Sunday on its opening, and that before 
she had time to shut the pew door, I took fright at the 
beginning of a preludiimi with a full accompaniment, so that 
I flew out of church and home again. I also remember to 

CHAP, i.] Early Recollections. 5 

have seen my brother William confirmed in his new obb'i- 
sten uniform." 

The next interesting event was the marriage of the 
eldest daughter, who was living with a family at 
Brunswick, and whom her sister says she had never seen 
until she came home to be married. The bridegroom, 
Mr. Griesbach, also a musician in the Guard, found no 
favour in the eyes of his sister-in-law, and it is evi- 
dently some satisfaction to her to have been told that 
her father never cordially approved the match, 

" for ... he knew him at least to be but a very middling 
musician, and this alone would have been enough for my 
father's disapprobation." 

Great preparations were made for 

" providing and furnishing a habitation (which happened to 
be in the same house where my parents lived), which they 
did in as handsome a manner as their straitened income 
would allow, and to which my dear brothers took delight in 
contributing to the best of their ability. I remember how 
delighted I was when they were showing me the pretty 
framed pictures with which my brother William had decorated 
his sister's room, and heard my mother relate afterwards, 
that the brothers had taken two months' pay in advance for 
the wedding entertainment. . . Though for stocking a family 
with household linen my mother was prepared at all times, 
as perhaps never a more diligent spinner was heard of ; but 
to keep pace with the wishes of my dear brothers, by whom 
my sister was, as well as by her parents, exceedingly 
beloved the whole family were kept for a time in an 

6 Caroline Liter etia Herschel. [1753-1755. 

agreeable bustle to see that nothing that could give either 
pleasure or comfort might be wanting in her future estab- 
lishment. . . . The fete (without which it would have 
been scandalous in those days to get married) ended with a 
ball, at which I remember to have been dancing among the 
rest without a partner." 

A little later, when war troubles broke up the 
household, and the bride returned to her mother, we 
are told : 

" my sister was not of a very patient temper, and could not 
be reconciled to have children about her, and I was mostly, 
when not in school, sent with Alexander to play on the 
walls or with the neighbour's children, in which I seldom 
could join, and often stood freezing on shore to see my 
brother skating on the Stadtgraben (town ditch) till he chose 
to go home. In short, there was no one who cared anything 
about me." 

The earthquake which destroyed Lisbon on the 1st 
November 1755, was strongly felt at Hanover, and 
became closely associated in the poor little girl's mind 
with the trials and troubles which shortly afterwards 
fell upon the family. She says : 

" One morning early I was with my father and mother 
alone in the room, the latter putting my clothes on, when 
all at once I saw both standing aghast and speechless before 
me ; at the same time my brothers, my sister, and Griesbach 
came running in, all being panic-struck by the earthquake." 

For a little while the family enjoyed a peaceful 
interval, during which the extraordinary proficiency of 

CHAP, i.j Early Recollections, 7 

his two eldest sons was a growing source of -delight 
to the father, whose utmost ambition was to see them 
become accomplished musicians ; while the wider 
flights of William met with his most cordial sym- 
pathy. The following passage is one of the very 
few which reflect the brighter side of the picture : 

" My brothers were often introduced as solo performers 
and assistants in the orchestra of the court, and I re- 
member that I was frequently prevented from going to 
sleep by the lively criticism on music on coming from a 
concert, or conversations on philosophical subjects which 
lasted frequently till morning, in which my father was a 
lively partaker and assistant of my brother William by 

contriving self-made instruments Often I would 

keep myself awake that I might listen to their animating 
remarks, for it made me so happy to see them so happy. But 
generally their conversation would branch out on philo- 
sophical subjects, when my brother William and my father 
often argued with such warmth, that my mother's in- 
terference became necessary, when the names Leibnitz, 
Newton, and Euler sounded rather too loud for the repose 
of her little ones, who ought to be in school by seven in 
the morning. But it seems that on the brothers retiring 
to their own room, where they shared the same bed, my 
brother William had still a great deal to say ; and frequently 
it happened that when he stopped for an assent or reply, he 
found his hearer was gone to sleep, and I suppose it was 
not till then that he bethought himself to do the same. 

" The recollection of these happy scenes confirms me in 
the belief, that had my brother William not then been inter- 
rupted in his philosophical pursuits, we should have had 
much earlier proofs of his inventive genius. My father 

8 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1755-1756. 

was a great admirer of astronomy, and had some knowledge 
of that science ; for I remember his taking me, on a clear 
frosty night, into the street, to make me acquainted with 
several of the most beautiful constellations, after we had 
been gazing at a comet which was then visible. And I 
well remember with what delight he used to assist my 
brother William in his various contrivances in the pursuit 
of his philosophical studies, among which was a neatly 
turned 4-inch globe, upon which the equator and ecliptic 
were engraved by my brother." 

Towards the end of the year 1755 the regiment 
was under orders for England, and the little house- 
hold was at once broken up. A place in the court 
orchestra had been promised to Jacob, but the va- 
cancy did not, unfortunately, occur in time, and 
he was obliged to smother his discontent, lower his 
ambition, and accept a place in the band with his 
younger brother. At length the sad hour of parting 
arrived : 

" In our room all was mute but in hurried action ; my 
dear father was thin and pale, and niy brother William 
almost equally so, for he was of a delicate constitution and 
just then growing very fast. Of my brother Jacob I only 
remember his starting difficulties at everything that was 
done for him, as my father was busy to see that they were 
equipped with the necessaries for a march. . . . The 
whole town was in motion with drums beating to inarch : 
the troops hallooed and roared in the streets, the drums 
beat louder, Griesbach came to join my father and brothers, 
and in a moment they all were gone. My sister fled to- 

CHAP. I.] Early Recollections. 9 

her own room. Alexander went with many others to 
follow their relatives for some miles to take a last look. I 
found myself now with my mother alone in a room all in 
confusion, in one corner of which my little brother Dietrich 
lay in his cradle ; my tears flowed like my mother's, but 
neither of us could speak. I snatched a large handkerchief 
of my father's from a chair and took a stool to place it at 
my mother's feet, on which I sat down, and put into her 
hands one corner of the handkerchief, reserving the opposite 
one for myself; this little action actually drew a momen- 
tary smile into her face . . . My father left half his 
pay for our support in the hands of an agent in Hanover, 
but Griesbach, instead of following my father's example, 
gave up his lodging and brought his wife with her goods 
and chattels to her mother, which arrangement was no 
small addition to our uncomfortable situation." 

Even at this early age, it is not difficult to trace 
in these childish recollections the influence of that 
intense affection for her brother William which 
made him' more and more the centre of all her 
interests ; next to him, her father filled a large 
place in her heart. Of the long year of separation, 
nothing is recorded. At last Jacob arrived (having 
" out of aggravation " got permission to resign his 
place when the hoped-for vacancy in the orchestra 
had been otherwise filled) he had travelled by post, 
while his father and brother, " who never forsook 
him for self-consideration," were still toiling wearily 
on the march home. 

"My mother being very busy preparing dinner, had 

10 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1756-1757. 

suffered me to go all alone to the parade to meet my 
father, but I could not find him anywhere, nor anybody 
whom I knew ; so at last, when nearly frozen to death, I 
came home and found them all at table. My dear brother 
William threw down his knife and fork, and ran to 
welcome and crouched down to me, which made me 
forget all my grievances. The rest were so happy . . at 
seeing one another again, that my absence had never 
been perceived." 

The visit to England appears to have further de- 
veloped the love of show and luxury which painfully 
distinguished Jacob, who must needs import speci- 
mens of English goods and English tailoring, while 
all that William brought back was a copy of Locke 
on the Human Understanding, the purchase of which 
absorbed all his private means, as he never willingly 
asked his father for a single penny. But it was be- 
coming apparent that he had not the physical strength 
to continue in the Guard during war time, and after 
the disastrous campaign of 1757, and the defeat at 
Hastenbeck,* 26th July, 1757 (between 20 and 30 
miles from Hanover), his parents resolved to remove 
him a step apparently attended by no small diffi- 
culty, as our faithful chronicler narrates : 

" I can now comprehend the reason why we little ones 
were continually sent out of the way, and why I had only by 
chance a passing glimpse of my brother as I was sitting at 

* The Duke of Cumberland's army suffered severely in this battle. 

CHAP. I.] Early Recollections. 11 

the entrance of our street-door, when he glided like a 
shadow along, wrapped in a great coat, followed by my mother 
with a parcel containing his accoutrements. After he had 
succeeded in passing unnoticed beyond the last sentinel 
at Herrenhausen he changed his dress. . . . My brother's 
keeping himself so carefully from all notice was undoubtedly 
to avoid the danger of being pressed, for all unengaged 
3 r oung men were forced into the service. Even the clergy, 
unless the}' had livings, were not exempted." 

During these times of public and private peril, the 
little girl was sent regularly to the garrison school with 
her brother Alexander till three in the afternoon, when 
she went to another school till six, to learn knitting. 

" From that time forward I was fully employed in pro- 
viding my brothers with stockings, and remember that the 
first pair for Alexander touched the floor when I stood 
upright finishing the front. Besides this my pen was 
frequently in requisition for writing not only my mother's 
letters to my father, but for many a poor soldier's wife in 
our neighbourhood to her husband in the camp : for it 
ought to be remembered that in the beginning of the last 
century very few women, when they left country schools, 
had been taught to write." 

In addition to these occupations, she was called upon 
to make herself useful when the fastidious Jacob 
honoured the humble table with his presence, " and 
poor I got many a whipping for being awkward at sup- 
plying the place of footman or waiter." The sight of 
her mother constantly in tears ; the prolonged absence 

12 Caroline Liicretia Herschel. 

of her father ; the sister's unhappiness at being home- 
less when about to become a mother; all these circum- 
stances combined to sadden the personal recollections 
of a time of almost unsurpassed national calamity. 
After the loss of the battle at Hastenbeck, the Recol- 
lections thus conclude this period. 

"Nothing but distressing reports came from our army, 
and we were almost immediately in the power of the 
French troops,* each house being crammed with men. 
In that in which we were obliged to bewail in silence 
our cruel fate, no le'ss than 16 privates were quartered, 
besides some officers who occupied the best apartments, and 
this lasted for about two years [a note of later date says 
" not so long "j before the town was liberated." 

A gap occurs here, between the years 1757 and 
1760, several pages having been torn out in both the 
original " Recollections " and the unfinished memoir 
commenced in 1840. In the former, a sentence be- 
ginning " the next time I saw him [Jacob] was when 
he came running to my mother with a letter, the 

* ' ' While the King of Prussia was waning in the south of Germany, an 
army of 60,000 Frenchmen under Marshal d'Estrees was directed upon 
Hanover, and occupied in the first place the Prussian dominions lying upon 

the Rhine d'Estrees had been to a certain degree successful in an 

action at Hastenbeck, on the Weser, and had forced Cumberland to retreat. 
That commander continued to yield ground incessantly, leaving Hanover and 

Magdeburg unprotected He concluded with Richelieu the convention 

of Closter Severn, by which he engaged that .... the Hanoverian troops 
should continue inactive in their quarters near Stade. Hostilities were to be 
suspended, and no stipulation was made respecting the Electorate of Hanover. 
That country was accordingly plundered without mercy, and subjected to 
enormous contributions." Annals of France, Encyclopaedia Metro olitana. 

CHAP, i.] Early Recollections. 13 

contents of which," remains unfinished, and the narra- 
tive recommences with : " After reading over many 
pages, I thought it best to destroy them, and merely 
to write down what I remember to have passed in our 
family." Accordingly there is no record of anything 
preserved during this interval until May, 1760, when 
the head of the family returned to it for good broken 
in health and worn out by hardships to which he was 
no longer equal, but strong in purpose and devoting 
himself at once to the musical education of his chil- 
dren and to giving lessons to the numerous pupils who 
soon came to seek instruction from so excellent a 
master. Jacob returned for the second time from 
England at the end of 1759, and obtained the place 
of first violin in the court orchestra. As usual the 
appearance of this member of the family caused a 
general upset of domestic comfort, for 

" when he came to dine with us, it generally happened that 
before he departed his mother was as much out of humour 
with him as he was at the beefsteaks being hard, and 
because I did not know how to clean knives and forks with 

The younger children made great progress under 
their father's careful training, and with all her pro- 
pensity for seeing the dark side, the daughter's 
recollections of this period afford glimpses of a 
tolerably happy household. If it was " a helpless 
and distracted family" to which, as she writes, her 

14 Caroline Lucretia HerscheL [1760-1761. 

father returned, those epithets could ill apply to the 
father himself, for there is abundant evidence that he 
was a man of no ordinary character one who, in spite 
of constant suffering of a most distressing kind, per- 
sisted in hard work to the very end, and who set his 
children a noble example of patience, unselfishness, 
and self-denial. To the last, as his daughter records, 

" Copying music employed every vacant moment, even 
sometimes throughout half the night, and the pen was not 
suffered to rest even when smoking a pipe, which habit he 
indulged in rather on account of his asthmatical constitu- 
tion than as a luxury ; for, without all exception, he was the 
most abstemious liver I ever have known ; and in every 
instance, even in the article of clothing, the utmost frugality 
was observed, and yet he never was seen otherwise than 
very neat. . . . With my brother [Dietrich] now a 
little engaging creature of between four and five years old 
he was very much pleased, and [on the first evening of his 
arrival at home] before he went to rest, the Adempken 
(a little violin) was taken from the lumbering shelf and 
newly strung and the daily lessons immediately commenced. 

. . . I do not recollect that he ever desired any other 
society than what he had opportunities of enjoying in many 
of the parties where he was introduced by his profession ; 
though far from being of a morose disposition; he would 
frequently encourage my mother in keeping up a social 
intercourse among a few acquaintances, whilst his afternoon 
hours generally were taken up in giving lessons to some 
scholars at home, who gladly saved him the troublesome 
exertion of walking. . . . He also found great pleasure 
in seeing Dietrich's improvement, who, young as he was, 
and of the most lively temper imaginable, was always read}' 

CHAP, i.] Early Recollections. 15 

to receive his lessons, leaving his little companions (with 
whom our neighbourhood abounded) with the greatest 
cheerfulness to go to his father, who was so pleased with his 
performances that I think it must have been in October or 
November he made him play a solo on the Adempken in 
Rake's concert, being placed on a table before a crowded 
company, for which he was very much applauded and 
caressed, particularly by an English lady, who put a gold 
coin in his little pocket. 

" It was not long before my father had as many scholars 
as he could find time to attend, for some of those he had 
left behind returned to him again, and several families who 
had sons of about the age of my little brother, became his 
pupils and proved in time very good performers. And 
when they assembled at my father's to make little concerts, 
I was frequently called to join the second violin in an 
overture, for my father found pleasure in giving me some- 
times a lesson before the instruments were laid by after 
practising with Dietrich, for I never was missing at those 
hours, sitting in a corner with my knitting and listening all 
the while." 

A serious interruption of this and all other occupa- 
tions was caused by a severe attack of typhus fever 
which in the summer of 1761 threatened to be fatal, 

" reduced my strength to that degree that for several 
months after I was obliged to mount the stairs on my hands 
and feet like an infant ; but here I will remark that from 
that time to this present day (June 5, 1821) I do not 
remember ever to have spent a whole day in bed." 

In spite of her strong objections to learning, the 

16 Caroline Litcretia Herschel. [1761-1764. 

worthy mother had too correct a view of her duties 
to stand in the way of the necessary preparation for 
her daughter's confirmation, who was accordingly, but 
not without complaints at the loss of time, released 
from her household avocations for this purpose. 
Alexander, who had been taken as a sort of ap- 
prentice by Griesbach, was now of an age to turn his 
great musical talents to profitable account, and re- 
turned to Hanover, where he obtained the somewhat 
mysterious situation of Stadtmusicus (Town Musician), 
the duties of which office involved 

41 little else to do but to give a daily lesson to an apprentice 
and to blow a Corale from the Markt Thurm ; so that nearly 
all his time could be given to practice and receiving instruc- 
tion from his father. There was no doubt but that he 
would soon become a good violin player, for his natural 
genius was such that nothing could spoil it." 

Although the absent brother William kept up 
regular correspondence with Hanover, many of his 
letters were written in English and addressed to 
Jacob, on such subjects as the Theory of Music, in 
which the family in general could not participate. 
Year after year went by, and William showed no 
inclination to leave England, to which country he 
was becoming more and more attached ; the poor 
father, who felt his strength steadily declining, became 
painfully eager for his return. On the 2nd April, 
1764, they were thrown into "a tumult of joy" by his 

CHAP . i.] Early Recollections. 17 

appearance among them. The visit was a very 
brief one, offering no hope of any intention to settle 
in Hanover; the father was well aware that he 
at least could not look forward to another meeting 
on earth, while to the poor little unnoticed girl, this 
visit and its attendant circumstances stood out in 
her memory as fraught with anguish, which even 
her unskilled pen succeeds in representing as a grief 
almost too deep for words. 

" Of the joys and pleasures which all felt at this long- 
wished-for meeting with my let me say my dearest 
brother, but a small portion could fall to my share; for 
with niy constant attendance at church and school, besides 
the time I was employed in doing the drudgery of the 
scullery, it was but seldom I could make one in the group 
when the family were assembled together. 

" In the first week some of the orchestra were invited 
to a concert, at which some of my brother William's com- 
positions, overtures, &c., and some of niy eldest brother 
Jacob's were performed, to the great delight of my dear 
father, who hoped and expected that they would be turned 
to some profit by publishing them, but there was no printer 
who bid high enough. 

" Sunday the 8th was the to me eventful day of my 
confirmation, and I left home not a little proud and en- 
couraged by my dear brother William's approbation of my 
appearance in my new gown." 

Not only was she disappointed in her fervent hope 
that the longed-for brother would not come at the 
very time when she was obliged to be much from 

18 Caroline Liter etia Herschel. [i 76 4-1 76 7. 

home, but several of the precious days of his stay were 
spent in a visit to the Griesbachs at Coppenbrugge, 
and the Sunday fixed for his departure was the very 
day on which she was to receive her first communion. 

" The church was crowded and the door open : the Ham- 
burger, Postwagen passed at eleven, bearing away my dear 
brother, from whom I had been obliged to part at 8 o'clock. 
It was within a dozen yards from the open door; the 
postilion giving a smettering blast on his horn. Its effect 
on my shattered nerves, I will not attempt to describe, nor 
what I felt for days and weeks after. I wish it were 
possible to say what I wish to say, without feeling anew that 
feverish wretchedness which accompanied my walk in the 
afternoon with some of my school companions, in my black 
silk dress and bouquet of artificial flowers the same which 
had served my sister on her bridal day. I could think of 
nothing but that on my return I should find nobody but 
my disconsolate father and mother, for Alexander's engage- 
ments allowed him to be with us only at certain hours, 
and Jacob was seldom at home except to dress and take his 

From the state of hopeless lethargy in which the 
poor sister describes herself as going mechanically 
about her daily tasks after that memorable day, she 
was roused by a calamity which affected all alike. 
The father had a paralytic seizure the August follow- 
ing, by which he lost the use of his right side almost 
entirely, and although he so far recovered as to be 
able still to receive pupils in his own house, he never 

CHAP. I.] Early Recollections. 19 

regained his former skill on the violin, and was re- 

o * 

cluced to a sad state of suffering and infirmity ; a few 
months later he was pronounced to be in a confirmed 
dropsy. Changes of abode, not always for the better ; 
anxieties, on account of Alexander's prospects and 
Jacob's vagaries ; disappointment, at seeing his 
daughter grow up without the education he had 
hoped to give her ; were the circumstances under 
which the worn-out sufferer struggled through the 
last three years of his life, copying music at even" 
spare moment, assisting at a Concert only a few 
weeks before his death, and giving lessons until he 
was obliged to keep wholly to his bed. He was re- 
leased from his sufferings at the comparatively early 
age of sixty-one on the 22nd March, 1767, leaving 
to his children little more than the heritage of his 
good example, unblemished character, and those 
musical talents which he had so carefully educated, 
and by which he probably hoped the more gifted of 
his sons would attain to eminence. 

Miss Herschel describes herself as having fallen into 
"a kind of stupefaction," which lasted for many 
weeks after the loss of her father, and the awakening 
to life had little of hope in the present or promise for 
the future, so far as she could see then. At the age 
of seventeen she had learned little beyond the first 
elements of education, and she was now deprived of 
the one friend who encouraged and sympathised with 

c 2 

20 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1767. 

her desire for better instruction. The parents had 
never agreed on the subject. " When I had left 
school/' she writes, 

" My father wished to give me something like a polished 
education, but my mother was particularly determined that 
it should be a rough, but at the same time a useful one ; and 
nothing farther she thought was necessary but to send me 
two or three months to a sempstress to be taught to make 
household linen. Having added this accomplishment to 
my former ingenuities, I never afterwards could find leisure 
for thinking of anything but to contrive and make for the 
family in all imaginable forms whatever was wanting, and 
thus I learned to make bags and sword-knots long before I 

knew how to make caps and furbelows 

My mother would not consent to my being taught French, 
and my brother Dietrich was even denied a dancing-master, 
because she would not permit my learning along with him, 
though the entrance had been paid for us both ; so all my 
father could do for me was to indulge me (and please him- 
self) sometimes with a short lesson on the violin, when my 
mother was either in good humour or out of the way. 
Though I have often felt myself exceedingly at a loss for 
the want of those few accomplishments of which I was thus, 
by an erroneous though well-meant opinion of my mother, 
deprived, I could not help thinking but that she had cause 
for wishing me not to know more than was necessary for 
being useful in the family ; for it was her certain belief that 
my brother William would have returned to his country, and 
my eldest brother not have looked so high, if they had had 
a little less learning. 

But sometimes I found it scarcely possible to get through 
with the work required, and felt very unhappy that 

CHAP, i.] Early Recollections. 21 

no time at all was left for improving myself in music or 
fancy-work, in which I had an opportunity of receiving 
some instruction from an ingenious young woman whose 
parents lived in the same house with us. But the time 
wanted for spending a few hours together could only be 
obtained by our meeting at daybreak, because by the time 
of the family's rising at seven, I was obliged to be at my 
daily business. But during the summer months of 1766 
very few mornings passed without our spending a few hours 
together, to which I was called by my friend's loud cough 
at her window by way of notice that she was ready for me 
[she could not sleep, and was glad of my company. I lost 
her soon after, for she died of consumption]. Though 
I had neither time nor means for producing anything im- 
mediately either for show or use, I was content with keep- 
ing samples of all possible patterns in needlework, beads, 
bugles, horsehair, &c., for I could not help feeling troubled 
sometimes about my future destiny ; yet I could not bear 
the idea of being turned into an Abigail or housemaid, and 
thought that with the above and such like acquirements 
with a little notion of Music, I might obtain a place as 
governess in some family where the want of a know- 
ledge of French would be no objection." 

It was with the same object of fitting herself to 
earn her bread that, after her father's death, she 
obtained permission to go for a month or two to learn 
millinery and dress-making ; her eldest brother Jacob, 
before leaving them to join William at Bath, having 
graciously given his consent, " if it was only meant 
to learn to make my own things, but positively for- 
bidding it for any other purpose." The following 

22 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1768. 

account of this episode shows how customary such 
apprenticeship was among young ladies of good 
family, as a part of their education : 

"My mother found some difficulty in persuading the 
lady to whom I wished to go, to receive me without paying 
the usual premium, but at last she gave me leave to come on 
paying one thaler per month. I felt myself rather humbled 
on going the first time among twenty-one young people with 
an elegant woman, Madame Kiister, at their head, directing 
them in various works of finery. Among the group were 
several young ladies of genteel families, and as I came there 
on rather reduced terms, I expected that I should be 
kept in the back ground, doing nothing but the plain 
work of the business ; but contrary to my fears, I gained 
in the school-mistress a valuable friend . . . Here 
I found myself daily happy for a few hours and one of 
the young women,* after a lapse of thirty-five years, w r hen 
I was introduced to her at the Queen's Lodge, received 
me as an old acquaintance, though I could but just remember 
having sometimes exchanged a nod and smile with a sweet 
little girl about ten or eleven years old. But I soon was 
sensible of having found w r hat hitherto I had looked for in 
vain a sincere and disinterested friend to whom I might have 
applied for counsel and comfort in my deserted situation." 

A proposal from Jacob that Dietrich, whom the 
father on his deathbed had specially commended to his 
care, should be sent to England, caused his mother the 
utmost distress, on account of his being still too young 
to be confirmed ; but her scruples were overcome and 

* Afterwards Madame Beckedorff, Miss Herschel's most valued friend in 
after years. 

CHAP, i.j Early Recollections. 23 

Dietrich was despatched in the summer as soon as a 
fitting escort could be found. 

" But what was yet more aggravating was, that the loss of 
his company was supplied by a country cousin whom my 
mother permitted to spend the summer Avith us in order to 
have the advantage of my mother's advice in making prepara- 
tion for her marriage. . . . This young woman, full of 
good-nature and ignorance, grew unfortunately so fond of me 
that she was for ever at my side, and by that means I lost 
what little interval of leisure I might then have had for 
reading, practising the violin, &c., entirely. Besides this, I 
was extremely discomposed at seeing Alexander associating 
with young men who led him into all manner of expensive 
pleasures which involved him in debts for the hire of horses 
and carioles, &c., and I was (though he knew my inability of 
helping him) made a partaker in his fears that these scrapes 
should come to the knowledge of our mother. 

" My time was, however, filled up pretty well with making 
household linen, &c., against Jacob's return. . . . 

. . It was not, however, till the middle of the following 
summer that Ave saw him again, and I suppose his stay must 
have been prolonged on account of waiting till he had had 
the honour of playing before their Majesties, for which (in 
consequence of having composed and dedicated a set of six 
sonatas to the Queen) he was informed he would receive a 
summons. . . . After this his salary was augmented 
by 100 thalers," and the promise of not being overlooked 
in future. 

[NOTE. Before I leave this subject I cannot help remem- 
bering the sacrifices these good people were making to 
pride. They played noAvhere for money, for even when 
in 1768 (I think it Avas) the King's theatre was first 

24 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1768-1770. 

opened to the Public, and the Court orchestra was called 
upon to play there, they did it without any emolument, so 
that there was no way left to increase their small salaries 
but by giving a few subscription concerts in the winter, or 
by teaching. So much, by way of apology, for the emi- 
gration of part of my family to England.] 

" We passed the winter in the utmost quiet, except when 
Alexander took it into his head to entertain gentlemen in 
his own apartment, which always made my mother very 
cross, else in general nothing disturbed us in our occupa- 
tion. My mother spun, I was at work on a set of ruffles of 
Dresden-work for my brother Jacob, whilst Alexander often 
sat by us and amused us and himself with making all sorts 
of things in pasteboard, or contriving how to make a twelve- 
hour Cuckoo clock go a week. . . . As my mother saw 
that Dietrich's confirmation was still uncertain, she insisted 
on having him back again. . . . Accordingly at the end 
of July they [Jacob and Dietrich] arrived, and Dietrich 
entered school again immediately," but remained onty until 
his confirmation the following Easter. 

A new direction was suddenly given to all their 
plans by the arrival of letters from the absent brother 
William, who proposed that his sister should join him 
at Bath 

. . . "to make the trial if by his instruction I might not be- 
come a useful singer for his winter concerts and oratorios, 
he advised my brother Jacob to give me some lessons by 
way of beginning ; but that if after a trial of two years we 
should not find it answer our expectation he would bring 
me back again. This at first seemed to be agreeable to all 

CHAP. I.] Early Recollections. 25 

parties, but by the time I had set my heart upon this 
change in my situation, Jacob began to turn the whole 
scheme into ridicule, and, of course, he never heard the sound 
of my voice except in speaking, and yet I was left in the 
harassing uncertainty whether I Avas to go or not. I resolved 
at last to prepare, as far as lay in my power, for both cases, 
by taking, in the first place, every opportunity when all were 
from home to imitate, with a gag between my teeth, the solo 
parts of concertos, shake and all, such as I had heard them 
play on the violin ; in consequence I had gained a tolerable 
execution before I knew how to sing. I next began to knit 
ruffles, which were intended for my brother William in case I 
remained at home else they were to be Jacob's. For my 
mother and brother D. I knitted as many cotton stockings 
as would last two years at least." 

Jacob remained with his family until the following 
July, when lie returned to Bath, this time taking 
Alexander with him for two years' leave of absence, 
the young Dietrich being deemed competent not only 
to supply his place in the orchestra, but also to attend 
his private pupils. 

Nothing is recorded in the interval between Jacob's 
return to Hanover in the autumn and the long ex- 
pected arrival of William in April, 1772, except one 
of the changes of abode, which were of such frequent 
occurrence, involving abundance of employment in 
making and altering articles of household use, which 
afforded some relief to the conscientious daughter, 
who was sorely troubled by uncertainty as to her 
duty in the matter of going to England or staying 

26 Caroline Lncretia HerscheL [1772. 

with her mother, although the latter had given her 
consent to the change. 

" In this manner" [making prospective clothes for them] 
" I tried to still the compunction I felt at leaving relatives 
who, I feared, would lose some of their comforts by my 
desertion, and nothing but the belief of returning to them 
full of knowledge and accomplishments could have sup- 
ported me in the parting moment, which was much em- 
bittered by the absence of my brother Jacob, who was 
with the Court which attended on the Queen of Denmark 
at the Gordc, where my brother Dietrich had also been for 
some time, and but just returned when my brother William, 
for whose safety we had for several weeks been under no 
small apprehension, at last quite unexpectedly arrived. . . . 
His sta}^ at Hanover could at the utmost not be prolonged 
above a fortnight. . . . My mother had consented 
to my going with him, and the anguish at my leaving her 
was somewhat alleviated by my brother settling a small 
annuity on her, by which she would be enabled to keep an 
attendant to supply my place." They all went over to 
Coppenbriigge "to see my sister I to take leave of her; 
the remaining time was wasted in an unsatisfactory 
correspondence : the letters from my brother Jacob ex- 
pressed nothing but regret and impatience at being thus 
disappointed, and, without being able to effect a meeting, 
I was obliged to go without receiving the consent of my 

eldest brother to my going 


" But I will not attempt to describe my feelings when 
the parting moment arrived, and I left my dear mother 
and most dear Dietrich on Sunday, August 16th, 1772, at 
the Posthouse, and after travelling for six days and nights 
on an open (in those days very inconvenient) Postwagen^ 

CHAP. I.] Early Recollections. 27 

we were on the following Saturday conveyed in a small 
open vessel from the qua} r at Helvotsluis on a stormy sea, to 
the packet boat, which lay two miles distant at anchor ; from 
which we were again obliged to go in an open boat to be 
set ashore, or rather thrown like balls by two English sailors, 
on the coast of Yarmouth.* For the vessel was almost a 
wreck, without a main and another of its masts. 

" After having crawled to one of a row of neat low houses, 
we found the party previously arrived from the ship devour- 
ing their breakfast ; several clean-dressed women employed 
in cutting bread and butter (from fine wheaten loaves) as 
fast as ever they could. One of them went upstairs with 
me to help me to put on my clothes, and after taking some 
tea we mounted some sort of a cart to bring us to the next 
place where diligences going to London would pass. But 
we had hardly gone a quarter of an English mile when the 
horse, which was not used to go in what they called the 
shafts, ran away with us, overturning the cart with trunk and 
passengers. My brother, another person, and myself all 
throwing themselves out, I flying into a dry ditch. We all 
came off however, with only the fright, owing to the assist- 
ance of a gentleman who, with his servant, was accom- 
panying us on horseback. These persons had come in the 
packet with us, and it was settled not to part till in 
London, where we arrived at noon on the 26th at an inn 
in the City. Here we remained till the evening of the 
27th. My brother having business at the West-end of 
the town, left me under the care of our fellow travellers ; 
but after his return, in the evening when the shops were 
lighted up, we went to see all that was to be seen in that 
part of London, of which I only remember the opticians' 
shops, for I do not think we stopped at any other. 

* The other version calls it " from Helvot to Harrige " = Harwich. 

28 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1772. 

" The next day tlie mistress of the inn lent me a hat of 
her daughter's mine was blown into one of the canals of 
Holland, for we had storms by land as well as at sea and 
we went to see St. Paul's, the Bank, &c., &c. Mem : only the 
outside, except of St. Paul's and the Bank, and we were never 
off our legs, except at meals in our inn. Towards even- 
ing we went to the West of the town, where, after having 
called on Despatch Secretary Wiese and his lady (Mr. 
Wiese conducted our correspondence with Hanover) we 
went to the inn, from whence we at ten o'clock in the even- 
ing started by the night coach for Bath on the 28th of 
August After taking some tea I went imme- 
diately to bed, and I did not awake till the next day in the 
afternoon, when I found my brother had but just left his 
room. I for my part was, from the privation of sleep 
for eleven or twelve days (not having above twice been in 
what they called a bed) almost annihilated." 


The only allusion to this journey in Sir W. 
Herschel's Journal is the brief entry: "August 16, 
1772. Set off on my return to England in company 
with my sister." 


[To face imgi _'.. 



AT the time when William Herschel brought his 
sister back with him to Bath, he had established him- 
self there as a teacher of music, numbering among his 
pupils many ladies of -rank. He was also organist of 
the Octagon Chapel, and frequently composed anthems, 
chants, and whole services for the choir under his 
management. On the retirement of Mr. Linley 
(father of the celebrated singer, afterwards the beau- 
tiful Mrs. Sheridan) from the direction of the Public 
Concerts, he at once added this to his other avoca- 
tions, and was consequently immersed in business of 
the most laborious and harassing kind during the 
whole of the Bath season. But he considered all this 
professional work only as the means to an end ; devotion 
to music produced income and a certain degree of leisure, 
and these were becoming every day more imperatively 
necessary. Every spare moment of the day, and 
many hours stolen from the night, had long been 

30 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1772. 

devoted to the studies which were compelling him to 
become himself an observer of the heavens. Insufficient 
mechanical means roused his inventive genius ; and, as 
all the world knows, the mirror for the mighty forty- 
foot telescope was the crowning result. To his pupils 
he was known as not a music-master alone. Some 
ladies had lessons in astronomy from him, and, at the 
invitation of his friend Dr. Watson, he became a mem- 
ber of a philosophical society then recently started 
in Bath, to which he for several years contributed a 
great number of papers on various scientific subjects. 
It soon came to pass that the gentlemen who sought 
interviews with him, asking for a peep through the 
wonderful tube, carried stories of what they had seen 
to London, and these were not long in finding their 
way to St. James's. 

It was thus at the very turning-point of her 
brother's career that Caroline Herschel became his 
companion and fellow-worker. No contrast could 
be sharper than that presented by the narrow domestic 
routine she had left to the life of ceaseless and inex- 
haustible activity into which she was plunged; 
unless, indeed, it be that presented by the nature of 
the events she has to record, and the tone in which 
they are recorded. For ten years she persevered at 
Bath, singing when she was told to sing, copying 
when she was told to copy, " lending a hand " in the 
workshop, and taking her full share in all the stirring 

CHAP. II.] Life in Bath. 31 

and exciting changes by which the musician be- 
came the King's astronomer and a celebrity ; but 
she never, by a single word, betrays how these 
wonderful events affected her; nor ever indulges 
in the slightest approach to an original sentiment, 
comment, or reflection not strictly connected with 
the present fact. Whether it be to record the 
presentation of the "golden medal," or the dis- 
honesty of the incorrigible Betties who then, and 
till her life's end, so sorely tried her peace of 
mind, there is no difference in the style or spirit 
of the " Kecollections." Partly as apology and 
partly as complaint, the one grievance is harped 
on, even when fifty years' experience might have 
convinced her that she had done something more 
for herself and the world than earn her bread by 
her own labour. " In short," she writes, " I have 
been throughout annoyed and hindered in my en- 
deavours at perfecting myself in any branch of 
knowledge by which I could hope to gain a credit- 
able livelihood." It is seldom, however, that she is 
diverted from the main theme to write about herself 
otherwise than incidentally, and in a note addressed 
to her nephew, she says: "My only reason for 
saying so much of myself is to show with what 
miserable assistance your father made shift to ob- 
taining the means of exploring the heavens." 

32 Caroline L^tcret^ct Herschel. [1772. 

" On the afternoon of August 28th, 1772, I arrived 
with my brother at his house No. 7, New King Street, 
Bath, where we were received only by Mr. Bulman's family, 
who occupied the parlour floor, and had the management of 
his servant and household affairs. My brother had formerly 
boarded with them at Leeds, whence, on Mr. Bulman's 
failure in business, they had removed to Bath, where my 
brother procured for him the place of Clerk at the Octagon 
Chapel. . . . On our journey he had taken every op- 
portunity to make me hope to find in Mrs. Bulman a well- 
informed and well-meaning friend, and in her daughter, a 
few years younger than nr^self, an agreeable companion. 
But as I knew no more English than the few words which I 
had on our journey learned to repeat like a parrot, it may 
be easily supposed that it would require some time before I 
could feel comfortable among strangers. But as the season 
for the arrival of visitors to the Baths does not begin 
till October, my brother had leisure to try my capacity for 
becoming a useful singer for his concerts and oratorios, 
and being very well satisfied with my voice, I had two or 
three lessons every day, and the hours which were not 
spent at the harpsichord were employed in putting me in 
the way of managing the family. . . . On the second 
morning, on meeting my brother at breakfast, he began 
immediately to give me a lesson in English and arithmetic, 
and showed me the way of booking and keeping accounts 
of cash received and laid out. . . . By way of re- 
laxation we talked of astronomy and the bright constel- 
lations with which I had made acquaintance during the 
fine nights we spent on the Postwagen travelling through 

"My brother Alexander, who had been some time in 
England, boarded and lodged with his elder brother, and 

CHAP, ii.] Life in Bath, 33 

with myself, occupied the attic. The first floor, which was 
furnished in the newest and most handsome style, my 
brother kept for himself. The front room containing the 
harpsichord was always in order to receive his musical friends 

.and scholars at little private concerts or rehearsals 

'Sundays I received a sum for the weekly expenses, of which 
my housekeeping book (written in English) showed the 
amount laid out, and my purse the remaining cash. One of 
the principal things required was to market, and about six 
weeks after coming to England I was sent alone among 
iishwomen, butchers, basket-women, &c., and I brought 
home Avhatever in my fright I could pick up. . . . My 
brother Alex, who was now returned from his summer en- 
gagement, used to watch me at a distance, unknown to me, 
till he saw me safe on my way home. But all attempts to 
introduce any order in our little household proved vain, 
owing to the servant my brother then had a hot-headed 
old Welshwoman. All the articles, tea-things, Ac., which 
I was to take in charge, were almost all destroyed : knives 
eaten up by rust, heaters of the tea-urn found in the ash- 
hole, &c. And what still further increased my difficulty 
was, that my brother's time was entirely taken up with 
business, so that I only saw him at meals. Breakfast was 
at 7 o'clock or before (much too early for me), who would 
rather have remained up all night than be obliged to rise at 
;so early an hour. . . . 

" The three winter months passed on very heavily. 
I had to struggle against helmwehe (home sickness) and low 
spirits, and to answer my sister's melancholy letters on the 
death of her husband, by which she became a widow with 
six children. I knew too little English to derive any 
consolation from the society of those who were about 
me, so that, dinner-time excepted, I was entirely left to 


34 Caroline Lucretm Herschel. [1774-1775. 

Introductions to her brother's scholars led to occa- 
sional evening parties, where her voice was in demand 
as well for single songs as to take part in duets and 
glees, and one of these ladies, Mrs. Colebrook, invited 
her to go to London on a visit. This visit was 
prolonged for several weeks owing to the deep snow, 
which rendered the roads impassable. The Duchess of 
Ancaster is said to have offered any sum to have a 
passage cut near Devizes, but without success, her Grace 
was in consequence unable to be present on the 18th 
January, when the Queen's birthday was kept. Operas, 
plays, auctions, and all the usual amusements of the 
town, gave Miss Herschel a glimpse of the gay world ; 
but the expense of dress and chairmen troubled her 
spirits too much to allow of her finding pleasure in 
these dissipations ; and although Mrs. Colebrook is 
allowed to be both " learned and clever," her society 
does not appear to have contributed much more to 
her happiness than that of some younger ladies whose 
companionship was offered, but whose visits she did 
not encourage, because, as she bluntly explains, she 
" thought them very little better than idiots." 

" The time when I could hope to receive a little more 
of m}' brother's instruction and attention was now drawing 
near; for after Easter, Bath becomes very empty; only a few of 
his scholars whose families were resident in the neighbour- 
hood remaining. But I was greatly disappointed ; for, in 
consequence of the harassing and fatiguing life he had led 

CHAP, ii.] Life in Bath. 35 

during the winter months, he used to retire to bed with a 
bason of milk or glass of water, and Smith's "Harmonics and 
Optics," Ferguson's "Astronomy," c., and so went to sleep 
buried under his favourite authors ; and his first thoughts 
on rising were how to obtain instruments for viewing those 
objects himself of which he had been reading. There being in 
one of the shops a two and a half foot Gregorian telescope to 
be let, it was for some time taken in requisition, and served 
not only for viewing the heavens but for making experiments 
on its construction. ... It soon appeared that my brother 
was not contented with knowing what former observers had 
seen, for he began to contrive a telescope eighteen or 
twenty feet long (I believe after Huyghen's description). . . 
. . I was much hindered in my musical practice by my help 
being continually wanted in the execution of the various con- 
trivances, and I had to amuse myself with making the tube of 
pasteboard for the glasses which were to arrive from Lon- 
don, for at that time no optician had settled at Bath. But 
when all was finished, no one besides my brother could get 
a glimpse of Jupiter or Saturn, for the great length of the 
tube would not allow it to be kept in a straight line. This 
difficulty, however, was soon removed by substituting tin 

tubes My brother wrote to inquire the price of a 

reflecting mirror for (I believe) a five or six foot telescope. 
The answer was, there were none of so large a size, but a 
person offered to make one at a price much above what my 

brother thought proper to give About this time he 

bought of a Quaker resident at Bath, who had formerly 
made attempts at polishing mirrors, all his rubbish of pat- 
terns, tools, hones, polishers, unfinished mirrors, &c., but 
all for small Gregorians, and none above two or three 
inches diameter. 

" But nothing serious could be attempted, for want of 
time, till the beginning of June, when some of my brother's 

D 2 

36 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1774-1775. 

scholars were leaving Bath ; and then to my sorrow I saw 
almost every room turned into a workshop. A cabinet- 
maker making a tube and stands of all descriptions in a 
handsomely furnished drawing-room ; Alex putting up a 
huge turning machine (which he had brought in the autumn 
from Bristol, where he used to spend the summer) in a bed- 
room, for turning patterns, grinding glasses, and turning 
eye-pieces, &c. At the same time music durst not lie en- 
tirely dormant during the summer, and my brother had 
frequent rehearsals at home, where Miss Farinelli, an 
Italian singer, was met by several of the principal per- 
formers he had engaged for the winter concerts 

He composed glees, catches, &c., for such voices as 
he could secure, as it was not easy to find a singer to take the 

place of Miss Linley Sometimes, in the absence of 

Fisher, he gave a concerto on the oboe, or a sonata on the 
harpsichord ; and the solos on the violoncello of iny brother 
Alexander were divine ! . . . . He also took great delight 
in a choir of singers who performed the cathedral service at 
the Octagon Chapel, for whom he composed many excellent 
anthems, chants, and psalm tunes.* As soon as I could 
pronounce English well enough I was obliged to attend the 
rehearsals, and on Sundays at morning and evening service, 
which, though I did not much like at first, I soon found to 
be both pleasant and useful. 

* Although a considerable quantity of Sir W. Herschel's musical compo- 
sitions exist in manuscript, nmch has unhappily perished. His sister writes : 
" I only lament that this anthem was left with the rest of my brother's 
sacred compositions, which were left in trust with one of the choristers. The 
morning and evening services each in two different keys, and numerous psalm 
tunes most beautifully set. The organ book containing the scores ; the parts 
written out and bound in leather, in a box with lock and key which was always 
kept at the chapel. All is lost. With difficulty many years after, one Te 
Deum was recovered, and when I was in Bath in 1800 I obtained two or three 
torn books of odd parts." The chorister's wife openly charged Mr. Linley 
with having taken possession of these treasures. 

CHAP, ii.] Life 111 Bath. 37 

" But every leisure moment was eagerly snatched at for 
resuming some work which was in progress, without taking 
time for changing dress, and many a lace ruffle was torn or 
bespattered by molten pitch, &c., besides the danger to 
which he continually exposed himself by the uncommon 
precipitancy which accompanied all his actions, of which 
we had a melancholy sample one Saturday evening, when 
both brothers returned from a concert between 11 and 12 
o'clock, my eldest brother pleasing himself all the way 
home with being at liberty to spend the next day (except a 
few hours' attendance at chapel) at the turning bench, but 
recollecting that the tools wanted sharpening, they ran 
with the lantern and tools to our landlord's grindstone 
in a public yard, where they did not wish to be seen 
on a Sunday morning. ... But my brother William 
was soon brought back fainting by Alex with the loss of 
one of his finger-nails. This happened in the winter 
of 1775, at a house situated near Walcot turnpike, 
to which my brother had moved at midsummer, 1774. 
On a grass plot behind the house preparation was 
immediately made for erecting a twenty-foot telescope, 
for which, among seven and ten foot mirrors then in 
hand, one of twelve foot was preparing; this house offered 
more room for workshops, and a place on the roof for 

" During this summer I lost the only female acquain- 
tances (not friends) I ever had an opportunity of being very 
intimate with by Buhner's family returning again to Leeds. 
For my time was so much taken up with copying music and 
practising, besides attendance on my brother when polishing, 
since by way of keeping him alive I was constantly obliged to 
feed him by putting the victuals by bits into his mouth. This 
was once the case when, in order to finish a seven foot mirror, 
he had not taken his hands from it for sixteen hours toge- 

38 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1775-1782. 

ther.* In general he was never unemployed at meals, but 
was always at those times contriving or making drawings 
of \vhatever came in his mind. Generally I was obliged 
to read to him whilst he was at the turning lathe, or polish- 
ing mirrors, Don Quixote, Arabian Nights' Entertainment, 
the novels of Sterne, Fielding, &c. ; serving tea and supper 
without interrupting the work with which he was engaged, 
.... and sometimes lending a hand. I became in time as 
useful a member of the workshop as a boy might be to his 

master in the first year of his apprenticeship But 

as I was to take a part the next year in the oratorios, I had 
for a whole twelvemonth two lessons per week from Miss 
Fleming, the celebrated dancing mistress, to drill me for a 
gentlewoman (God knows how she succeeded). So we lived 
on without interruption. My brother Alex was absent from 
Bath for some months every summer, but when at home 
he took much pleasure to execute some turning or clock- 
maker's work for his brother." 

News from Hanover put a sudden stop for a time to 
all these labours. The mother wrote, in the utmost 
distress, to say that Dietrich had disappeared from his 
home, it was supposed with the intention of going to 
India "with a young idler not older than himself." 
His brother immediately left the lathe at which he 
was turning an eye-piece in cocoanut, and started for 

* " The grinding of specula used to be performed by the hand, no machinery 
having been deemed sufficiently exact. The tool on which they were shaped 
having been turned to the required form, and covered with coarse emery and 
water, they were ground on it to the necessary figure, and afterwards polished 
by means of putty or oxide of tin, or pitch spread as a covering to the same tool 
in the place of the emery. To grind a speculum of six or eight inches in 
diameter was a work of no ordinary labour ; and such a one used to be con- 
sidered of great size." "Lord Basse's Telescopes," 1844. 

CHAP, ii.] Life in Bath. 39 

Holland, whence lie proceeded to Hanover, failing 
to meet his brother as he expected. Meanwhile 
the sister received a letter to say that Dietrich was 
laid up very ill at an inn in Wapping. Alexander 
posted to town, removed him to a lodging, and after a 
fortnight's nursing, brought him to Bath, where, on 
his brother AVilliam's return, he found him being well 
cared for by his sister, who kept him to a diet of 
" roasted apples and barley-water." Dietrich remained 
in England, his brother easily procuring him employ- 
ment until 1779, when he returned to Hanover, and 
shortly afterwards married a Miss Eeif. The family 
now moved to a larger house, 19, New King Street,"" 
which had a garden behind it, and open space down 
to the river. It is incidentally mentioned, "that 
here many interesting discoveries besides the Georgium 
Sidus were made." 

In preparation for the oratorios to be performed 
during Lent, Miss Herschel mentions that she copied 
the scores of the " Messiah " and " Judas Maccabeus " 
into parts for an orchestra of nearly one hundred per- 
formers, and the vocal parts of " Samson," besides 
instructing the treble singers, of which she was now 
herself the first. On the occasion of her first public 
appearance, her brother presented her with ten 
guineas for her dress, 

* In this house the Georgium Sidus was discovered, 1781 ; a volcanic 
mountain in the moon, 1783. Here the forty-foot was finished, which re- 
vealed two more volcanic mountains in the moon, 1789. 

40 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1775-1782. 

" And that my choice could not have been a bad one I 
conclude from having been pronounced by Mr. Palmer (the 
then proprietor of the Bath theatre) to be an ornament to 
the stage. And as to acquitting myself in giving my songs 
and recitatives in the 'Messiah,' 'Judas Maccabeus,' c., 
I had the satisfaction of being complimented by my friends, 
and the Marchioness of Lothian, &c., who were present at the 
rehearsals, for pronouncing my words like an Englishwoman." 

It is evident that had she chosen to persevere, her 
reputation as a singer would have been secure. The 
following year she was first singer at the concerts, and 
was offered an engagement for the Birmingham Festival, 
which she declined, having resolved only to sing in 
public where her brother was conductor. At this time 
he had repeated proposals from London publishers to 
bring out some of his vocal compositions, but with the 
exception of " The Echo " catch, none of them ever 
appeared in print. Besides the regular Sunday services, 
concerts and oratorios had to be prepared for and per- 
formed in steady routine, sometimes at Bristol also, 
while the poor prima-donna-housekeeper " hobbled on " 
with one dishonest servant after another, until Whit 
Sunday, 1782, when both brother and sister played 
and sung for the last time, in St. Margaret's Chapel. 
On this occasion, their last performance in public, the 
anthem selected for the day was one of the last com- 
positions, of which mention has been made above. 

The name of William Herschel was fast becoming 
famous, as a writer, a discoverer, and the possessor and 

CHAP, ii.] Life in Bath. 41 

inventor of instruments of unheard-of power. He was 
now about to be released from the necessity of devoting 
the time to music which he was eager to give to astro- 
nomical science.* It came about as follows : 

. . . . " He was now frequently interrupted by visitors 
who were introduced by some of his resident scholars, 
among whom I remember Sir Harry Engelfield, Dr. Blag- 
den, and Dr. Maskelyne. With the latter he was engaged in 
a long conversation, which to me sounded like quarrelling, 
and the first words my brother said after he was gone wag : 
' That is a devil of a fellow.' .... 

.... I suppose their names were not known, or were 
forgotten ; for it was not till the year 1782 or 1783 that a 
memorandum of the names of visitors was thought of .... 

.... My brother applied himself to perfect his mirrors, 
erecting in his garden a stand for his twenty -foot telescope ; 
many trials were necessary before the required motions for 
such an unwieldy machine could be contrived. Many 
attempts were made by way of experiment against a 
mirror before an intended thirty-foot telescope could be com- 
pleted, for which, between whiles (not interrupting the 
observations with seven, ten, and twenty-foot, and writing 
papers for both the Eoyal and Bath Philosophical Societies) 
gauges, shapes, weight, &c., of the mirror were calculated, 
and trials of the composition of the metal were made. In 
short, I saw nothing else and heard nothing else talked of 
but about these things when my brothers were together. 
Alex was always very alert, assisting when anything new 
was going forward, but he wanted perseverance, and never 
liked to confine himself at home for many hours together. 
And so it happened that my brother William was obliged to 

* He was elected a Fellow of the lioyal Society, Dec. 6, 1781. 

42 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [i 775-1 782. 

make trial of my abilities in copying for him catalogues, 
tables, c., and sometimes whole papers which were lent 
him for his perusal. Among them was one by Mr. Michel 
and a catalogue of Christian Mayer in Latin, which kept me 
employed when my brother was at the telescope at night. 
When I found that a hand was sometimes wanted when any 
particular measures were to be made with the lamp micro- 
meter, &c., or a fire to be kept up, or a dish of coffee 
necessar}' during a long night's watching, I undertook with 
pleasure what others might have thought a hardship .... 
"Since the discovery of the Georgiuni Sidus [March 13, 
1781], I believe few men of learning or consequence left 
Bath before they had seen and conversed with its discoverer, 
and thought themselves fortunate in finding him at home 
on their repeated visits. Sir William Watson* was almost 
an intimate, for hardly a day passed but he had something 
to communicate from the letters which he received from Sir 
Joseph Banks and other members of the Royal Society, 
from which it appeared that my brother was expected 
in town to receive the gold medal. The end of November 
was the most precarious season for absenting himself. But 
Sir William went with him, and it was arranged so that they 
set out with the diligence at night, and by that means his 

* "About the latter end of tins month [December, 1779] I happened to be 
engaged in a series of observations on the lunar mountains, and the moon 
being in front of my house, late in the evening I brought my seven-feet reflec- 
tor into the street, and directed it to the object of my observations. Whilst 
I was looking into the telescope, a gentleman coming by the place where I 
was stationed, stopped to look at the instrument. When I took my eye off 
the telescope, he very politely asked if he might be permitted to look in, and 
this being immediately conceded, he expressed great satisfaction at the view. 
Next morning the gentleman, who proved to be Dr. "Watson, jun. (now 
Sir William), called at my house to thank me for my civility in showing him 
the moon, and told me that there was a Literary Society then forming at 
Bath, and invited me to become a member of it, to which I readily consented.'' 
Sir W. HersclwTs Journal. This occurred at a house in River Street, which 
was soon changed for 19, New King Street. 

CHAP, ii.] Life in Bath. 43 

absence did not last above three or four days, when my 
brother returned alone, Sir William remaining with his father. 

"Now a very busy winter was commencing; for my 
brother had engaged himself to conduct the oratorios con- 
jointly with Hon/ini, and had made himself answerable for 
the payment of the engaged performers, for his credit ever 
stood high in the opinion of every one he had to deal with. 
(He lost considerably by this arrangement.) But, though 
at times much harassed with business, the mirror for 
the thirty -foot reflector was never out of his mind, and if a 
minute could but be spared in going from one scholar to 
another, or giving one the slip, he called at home to see how 
the men went on with the furnace, which was built in a room 
below, even with the garden. 

" The mirror was to be cast in a mould of loam prepared 
from horse dung, of which an immense quantity was to be 
pounded in a mortar and sifted through a fine sieve. It was 
an endless piece of work, and served me for many an hour's 
exercise ; and Alex frequentry took his turn at it, for we were 
all eager to do something towards the great undertaking. 
Even Sir William Watson would sometimes take the pestle 
from me when he found me in the work-room, where he 
expected to find his friend, in whose concerns he took so 
much interest that he felt much disappointed at not being 
allowed to pay for the metal. But I do not think my brother 
ever accepted pecuniary assistance from any one of his 
friends, and on this occasion he declined the oifer by saying 
it was paid for already. 

" Among the Bath visitors were many philosophical gentle- 
men who used to frequent the levees at St. James's, when 
in town. Colonel Walsh, in particular, informed my brother 
that from a conversation he had had with His Majesty, 
it appeared that in the spring he was to come with his seven, 
foot telescope to the King. Similar reports he received 

44 Caroline Lucretia HerscheL [1775-1782. 

from many others, but they made no great impression nor 
caused any interruption in his occupation or study, and as 
soon as the season for the concerts was over, and the mould, 
&c., in readiness, a day was set apart for casting, and the 
metal was in the furnace, but unfortunately it began to leak 
at the moment when ready for pouring, and both my 
brothers and the caster with his men were obliged to run 
out at opposite doors, for the stone flooring (which ought to 
have been taken up) flew about in all directions, as high as 
the ceiling. My poor brother fell, exhausted with heat and 
exertion, on a heap of brickbats. Before the second casting 
was attempted, everything which could ensure success had 
been attended to, and a very perfect metal was found in the 
mould, which had cracked in the cooling. 

" But a total stop and derangement now took place, and 
nearly six or seven months elapsed before my brother could 
return to the undisturbed enjoyment of his instruments and 
observations. For one morning in Passion week, as Sir 
William Watson was with my brother, talking about the 
pending journey to town, my eldest nephew* arrived to pay 
us a visit, and brought the confirmation that his uncle was 
expected with his instrument in town. A chaise was at the 
door to take us to Bristol for a rehearsal in the forenoon, 
of the ' Messiah,' which was to be performed the same evening. 
The conductor being still lost in conversation with his friend, 
was obliged to trust to my poor abilities for filling the music 
box with the necessary parts for between ninety and one hun- 
dred performers. My nephew had travelled all night, but we 
took him with us, for we had not one night in the week, 

* George Griesbach, who with the rest of the family settled in England, 
where they all did well, their musical talents and connections bringing them 
a good deal under the notice of the Court. Mr. G. Griesbach's youngest 
daughter, Elizabeth, became the wife of Mr. Waterhouse, of the British 
Museum. She died in 1874. 

CHAP, ii.] Life in Bath. 45 

except Friday, but what was set apart for an oratorio either 
at Bath or Bristol. Soon after Easter a new organ being 
erected in St. James's Church, it was opened with two per- 
formances of the ' Messiah ;' this again took up some of my 
brother's time 

.... The Tuesday after Whit Sunda}^ May 8th, my 
brother left Bath to join Sir William Watson at his father's 
in Lincoln's Inn Fields, furnished with everything necessary 
for viewing double stars, of which the first catalogue had 
just then appeared in the ' Philosophical Transactions.' A 
new seven-foot stand and steps were made to go in a 
moderate sized box, to be screwed together on the spot 
where wanted. Flamsteed's Atlas, in which the stars had 
during the winter been numbered, catalogues of double 
stars, micrometers, tables, &c., and everything which could 
facilitate reviewing objects, had been attended to in the pre- 
paration for the journey. 

"But when almost double the time had elapsed which my 
brother could safely be absent from his scholars, Alex, as 
well as myself, were much at a loss how to answer their 
inquiries, for, from the letters we received, we could learn 
nothing but that he had been introduced to the King and 
Queen, and had permission to come to the concerts at 
Buckingham House, where the King conversed with him 
about astronomy." 

It was during his absence at this time that the three 
following letters were written and received : 


I have had an audience of His Majesty this morn- 
ing, and met with a very gracious reception. I presented 
him with the drawing of the solar system, and had the 
honour of explaining it to him and the Queen. My 

46 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1775-1782. 

telescope is in three weeks' time to go to Richmond, and 
meanwhile to be put up at Greenwich, where I shall 
accordingly carry it to-day. So you see, Lina, that you 
must not think of seeing me in less than a month. I shall 
write to Miss Lee myself; and other scholars who inquire 
for me, you may tell that I 'cannot wait on them till His Ma 
jesty shall be pleased to give me leave to return, or rather 
to dismiss me, for till then I must attend. I will also write 
to Mr. Palmer to acquaint him with it. 

I am in a great hurry, therefore can write no more at 
present. Tell Alexander that everything looks very likely 
as if I were to stay here. The King inquired after him, and 
after my great speculum. He also gave me leave to come 
to hear the Griesbachs play at the private concert which he 
has every evening. My having seen the King need not be 
kept a secret, but about my staying here it will be best not 
to say anything, but only that I must remain here till His- 
Majesty has observed the planets with my telescope. 

Yesterday I dined with Colonel Walsh, who inquired 
after you. There were Mr. Aubert and Dr. Maskelyne. Dr. 
Maskelyne in public declared his obligations to me for 
having introduced to them the high powers, for Mr. Aubert 
has so much succeeded with them that he says he looks 
down upon 200, 300, or 400 with contempt, and immediately 
begins with 800. He has used 2500 very completely, and 
seen my fine double stars with them. All my papers are 
printing, with the postscript and all, and are allowed to be 
very valuable. You see, Lina, I tell you all these things.. 
You know vanity is not my foible, therefore I need not fear 
your censure. Farewell. 

I am, your afi'ectionate brother, 


Saturday Morning, 

probably May 25. 

CHAP. ii. ] Life in Bath. 47 


Monday Evening, June 3, 1782. 


I pass my time between Greenwich and London 
agreeably enough, but am rather at a loss for work that I 
like. Company is not always pleasing, and I would much 
rather be polishing a speculum. Last Friday I was at the 
King's concert to hear George play. The King spoke to me 
as soon as he saw me, and kept me in conversation for half 
an hour. He asked George to play a solo -concerto on 
purpose that I might hear him ; and George plays extremely 
well, is very much improved, and the King likes him very 
much. These two last nights I have been star-gazing at 
Greenwich with Dr. Maskelyne and Mr. Aubert. We have 
compared our telescopes together, and mine was found very 
superior to any of the Eoyal Observatory. Double stars which 
they could not see with their instruments I had the pleasure 
to show them very plainly, and my mechanism is so much 
approved of that Dr. Masketyiie has already ordered a 
model to be taken from mine and a stand to be made by it 
to his reflector. He is, however, now so much out of love- 
with his instrument that he begins to doubt whether it 
deserves a new stand. I have had the influenza, but am now 
quite well again. It lasted only five or six days, and I never 
was confined with it. ... There is hardly one single 
person here but what has had it. 

I am introduced to the best company. To-morrow I 
dine at Lord Palmerston's, next day with Sir Joseph Banks, 
&c., &c. Among opticians and astronomers nothing now is 
talked of but what they call my great discoveries. Alas ! 
this shows how far they are behind, when such trifles as I 
have seen and done are called great. Let me but get at it 
again ! I will make such telescopes, and see such things 
that is, I will endeavour to do so. 

48 Caroline Liter etia Herschel. [1775-1732. 

The letter ends abruptly with, this sentence, and 
only one more was written during this momentous 


JulyS, 1782. 


I have been so much employed that you will not 
wonder at my not writing sooner. The letter you sent me 
last Monday came very safe to me. As Dr. Watson has 
heen so good as to acquaint you and Alexander with my 
situation, I was still more easy in my silence to you. Last 
night the King, the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Princess 
Iloyal, Princess Sophia, Princess Augusta, &c., Duke of 
Montague, Dr. Heberden, M. de Luc, &c., &c., saw my 
telescope, and it was a veiy fine evening. My instrument 
gave general satisfaction. The King has very good eyes, 
and enjoys observations with telescopes exceedingly. 

This evening, as the King and Queen are gone to Kew, the 
Princesses were desirous of seeing my telescope, but wanted 
to know if it was possible to see without going out on the 
grass, and were much pleased when they heard that my 
telescope could be carried into any place they liked best to 
have it. About 8 o'clock it was moved into the Q.ueen's 
apartments, and we waited some time in hopes of seeing 
Jupiter or Saturn. Meanwhile I showed the Princesses, and 
several other ladies who were present, the speculum, the 
micrometers, the movements of the telescope, and other 
things that seemed to excite their curiosity. When the 
evening appeared to be totally unpromising, I proposed an 
artificial Saturn as an object, since we could not have the 
real one. I had beforehand prepared this little piece, as I 
guessed by the appearance of the weather in the afternoon 
we should have no stars to look at. This being accepted 

CHAP, n.j Impending Changes. 49 

with great pleasure, I had the lamps lighted up which illu- 
minated the picture of a Saturn (cut out in pasteboard) at 
the bottom of the garden wall. The effect was fine, and so 
natural that the best astronomer might have been deceived. 
Their royal highnesses and other ladies seemed to be much 
pleased with the artifice. 

I remained in the Queen's apartment with the -ladies till 
about half after ten, when in conversation with them I 
found them extremely w r ell instructed in every subject that 
was introduced, and they seemed to be most amiable 
characters. To-morrow evening they hope to have better 
luck, and nothing will give me greater happiness than to be 
able to show them some of those beautiful objects with 
which the heavens are so gloriously ornamented. 

"Sir William Watson returned to Bath after a fortnight or 
three weeks' stay. From him we heard that my brother 
was invited to Greenwich with the telescope, where he 
was met by a numerous party of astronomical and learned 
gentlemen, and trials of his instrument were made. In 
these letters he complained of being obliged to lead an 
idle life, having nothing to do but to pass between London 
and Greenwich. Sir William received many letters which 
he was so kind as to communicate to us. By these, and from 
those to Alexander or to me, we learned that the King wished 
to see the telescope at Windsor. At last a letter, dated July 2, 
arrived from Therese, and from this and several succeeding 
ones we gathered that the King would not suffer my brother 
to return to his profession again, and by his writing several 
times for a supply of money we could only suppose that he 
himself was in uncertainty about the time of his return. 

In the last week of July my brother came home, and imme- 
diately prepared for removing to Datchet, where he had 
taken a house with a garden and grass-plot annexed, quite 

50 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1782. 

suitable for the purpose of an observing-place. Sir Wm. 
Watson spent nearly the whole time at our house, and he 
was not the only friend who truly grieved at my brother's 
going from Bath ; or feared his having perhaps agreed to no 
very advantageous offers ; their fears were, in fact, not with- 
out reason The prospect of entering again on the 

toils of teaching, &c., which awaited my brother at home 
(the months of leisure being now almost gone by), appeared 
to him an intolerable waste of time, and by way of alternative 
he chose to be Royal Astronomer, with a salary of 200 
a year. Sir William Watson was the only one to Avhoni the 
sum was mentioned, and he exclaimed, "Never bought 
monarch honour so cheap ! " To every other inquirer, my 
brother's answer was that the King had provided for him. 

Everything was immediately packed for the removal, 
and on the 1st of August, when the brothers and sister 
walked over to Datchet from Slough (where the coach 
passed), they found the waggon, with its precious load 
of instruments, as well as household furniture, waiting 
to be unpacked. The new home was a large neglected 
place, the house in a deplorably ruinous condition, the 
garden and grounds overgrown with weeds. For a 
fortnight they had no female servant at all ; an old 
woman, the gardener's wife, showed Miss Herschel 
the shops, where the prices of everything, from coals 
to butcher's meat, appalled her. But these consi- 
derations weighed for nothing in her brother's eyes 
against the delight of stables where mirrors could be 
ground, a roomy laundry, which was to serve for a 
library, with one door opening on a large grass-plot, 

CHAP. IT.] Removal to Datchet. 51 

where " the small twenty-foot " was to be erected ; he 
gaily assured her that they could live on eggs and 
bacon, which would cost nothing to speak of now that 
they were really in the country ! 

The beginning of October, Alexander was obliged to return 
to Bath. The separation was truly painful to us all, and I 
was particularly affected by it, for till now I had not had time 
to consider the consequence of giving up the prospect of 
making nryself independent by becoming (with a little more 
uninterrupted application) a useful member of the musical pro- 
fession. But besides that my brother William would have been 
very much at a loss for my assistance, I had not spirit enough 
to throw myself on the public after losing his protection. 

Poor Alexander ! we had hoped at first to persuade him 
to change Bath for London, where he had the offer of the 
most profitable engagements, and we should then have had 
him near us ... but he refused, and before we saw him 
again the next year he was married. 

Much of my brother's time was taken up in going, when 
the evenings were clear, to the Queen's Lodge to show the 
King, &c., objects through the seven-foot. But when the 
days began to shorten, this was found impossible, for 
the telescope was often (at no small expense and risk 
of damage) obliged to be transported in the dark back to 
Datchet, for the purpose of spending the rest of the night 
with observations on double stars for a second Catalogue. 
My brother was besides obliged to be absent for a week 
or ten days for the purpose of bringing home the metal of 
the cracked thirty-foot mirror, and the remaining materials 
from his work-room. Before the furnace was taken down 
at Bath, a second twenty-foot mirror, twelve-inch diameter, 
was cast, which happened to be very fortunate, for on the 

E 2 

52 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1783. 

1st of January, 1783, a very fine one cracked by frost in the 
tube. I remember to have seen the thermometer \\ degree 

below zero for several nights in the same year 

.... In my brother's absence from home, I was of course 
left solely to amuse myself with my own thoughts, which were 
anything but cheerful. I found I was to be trained for an 
assistant-astronomer, and by way of encouragement a tele- 
scope adapted for " sweeping," consisting of a tube with two 
glasses, such as are commonly used in a " finder," was given 
me. I was "to sweep for comets," and I see by my journal 
that I began August 22nd, 1782, to write down and describe 
all remarkable appearances I saw in my " sweeps," which 
were horizontal. But it was not till the last two months of 
the same year that I felt the least encouragement to spend the 
star-light nights on a grass-plot covered with dew or hoar 
frost, without a human being near enough to be within call. 
I knew too little of the real heavens to be able to point out 
every object so as to find it again without losing too much time 
by consulting the Atlas. But all these troubles were removed 
when I knew my brother to be at no great distance making 
observations with his various instruments on double stars, 
planets, &c., and I could have his assistance immediately 
when I found a nebula, or cluster of stars, of which I 
intended to give a catalogue ; but at the end of 1783 I had 
only marked fourteen, when my sweeping was interrupted 
by being employed to write down my brother's observations 
with the large twenty-foot. I had, however, the comfort to see 
that my brother was satisfied with my endeavours to assist 
him when he wanted another person, either to run to the 
clocks, write down a memorandum, fetch and carry instru- 
ments, or measure the ground with poles, &c., &c., of 
which something of the kind every moment would occur. 
For the assiduity with which the measurements on the 
diameter of the Georgiuni Sidus, and observations of other 

CHAP, ii.] Life at Datchct. 53 

planets, double stars, c., c., were made, was incredible, 
as may be seen by the various papers that were given to 
the Royal Society in 1783, which papers were written in the 
daytime, or when cloudy nights interfered. Besides this, the 
twelve-inch speculum was perfected before the spring, and 
many hours were spent at the turning bench, as not a night 
clear enough for observing ever passed but that some 
improvements were planned for perfecting the mounting and 
motions of the various instruments then in use, or some 
trials were made of new constructed eye-pieces, which were 
mostly executed by my brother's own hands. Wishing to 
save his time, he began to have some work of that kind 
done by a watchmaker who had retired from business 
and lived on Datchet Common, but the work was so bad, 
and the charges so unreasonable, that he could not be 
employed. It was not till some time afterwards in his 
frequent visits to the meetings of the Royal Society (made 
in moonlight nights), that he had an opportunity of looking 
about for mathematical workmen, opticians, and founders. 
But the work seldom answered expectation, and it was 
kept to be executed with improvements by Alexander during 
the few months he spent with us. 

The summer months passed in the most active prepara- 
tion for getting the large twenty-foot ready against the next 
winter. The carpenters and smiths of Datchet were in daily 
requisition, and as soon as patterns for tools and mirrors were 
ready, my brother went to town to have them cast, and during 
the three or four months Alexander could be absent from 
Bath, the mirrors and optical parts were nearly completed. 

But that the nights after a day of toil were not given to 
rest, may be seen by the observations on Mars, of which a 
paper, dated December 1, 1783, was given to the Royal 
Society. Some trouble also was often thrown away during 
those nights in the attempt to teach me to re-measure 

54 Caroline Liter etia Herschel. [17S3. 

double stars with the same micrometers with which former 
measures had been taken, and the small twenty-foot was 

given me for that purpose I had also to ascertain 

their places by a transit instrument lent for that purpose 
by Mr. Dalrymple, but after many fruitless attempts it was 
seen that the instrument was perhaps as much in fault as 
my observations. 

July 8. I began to use the new Newtonian small sweeper, 
(for a description of this instrument see note to Neb. No. 1, 
V. class, at the end of the catalogue of first 1000 Neb. and 
Cl.), but it could hardly be expected that I should meet 
with any comets in the part of the heavens where I swept, 
for I generally chose my situation by. the side of my bro- 
ther's instrument, that I might be ready to run to the clock 
or write down memorandums. In the beginning of Decem- 
ber I became entirely attached to the writing-desk, and 
had seldom an opportunity after that time of using my 
newly-acquired instrument. 

My brother began his series of sweeps when the instru- 
ment was yet in a very unfinished state, and my feelings 
were not very comfortable when every moment I was 
alarmed by a crack or fall, knowing him to be elevated 
fifteen feet or more on a temporary cross-beam instead of a 
safe gallery. The ladders had not even their braces at the 
bottom ; and one night, in a very high wind, he had hardly 
touched the ground before the whole apparatus came down. 
Some labouring men were called up to help in extricating 
the mirror, which was fortunately uninjured, but much work 
was cut out for carpenters next day. 

That my fears of danger and accidents were not wholly 
imaginary, I had an unlucky proof on the night of the 
31st December. The evening had been cloudy, but about 
ten o'clock a few stars became visible, and in the greatest 
hurry all was got ready for observing. My brother, at the 

CHAP, ii.] Life at Datchet. 55 

front of the telescope, directed me to make some alteration 
in the lateral motion, which was done b}^ machinery, on 
which the point of support of the tube and mirror rested. 
At each end of the machine or trough was an iron hook, 
such as butchers use for hanging their joints upon, and 
having to run in the dark on ground covered a foot deep 
with melting snow, I fell on one of these hooks, which en- 
tered my right leg above the knee. My brother's call, 
" Make haste ! " I could only answer by a pitiful cry, " I am 
hooked ! " He and the workmen w r ere instantly with me, 
but they could not lift me without leaving nearly two ounces 
of my flesh behind. The workman's wife was called, but 
was afraid to do anything, and I Avas obliged to be my own 
surgeon by applying aquabusade and tying a kerchief about 
it for some days, till Dr. Lind, hearing of my accident, 
brought me ointment and lint, and told me how to use 
them. At the end of six weeks I began to have some fears 
about my poor limb, and asked again for Dr. Lind's opinion : 
he said if a soldier had met with such a hurt he would have 
been entitled to six weeks' nursing in a hospital. I had, 
however, the comfort to know that my brother was no loser 
through this accident, for the remainder of the night was 
cloudy, and several nights afterwards afforded only a few short 
intervals favourable for sweeping, and until the 16th January 
there was no necessity for my exposing myself for a whole 
night to the severity of the season. 

I could give a pretty long list of accidents which \vere 
near proving fatal to my brother as well as myself. To make 
observations with such large machinery, where all around is 
in darkness, is not unattended with danger, especially when 
personal safety is the last thing with which the mind is 
occupied ; even poor Piazzi * did not go home without get- 

* This eminent astronomer made inquiries after Miss Herscliel long years 
afterwards, as is related in the correspondence. See letter from Sir J. 
Herscliel, dated Catania, 1824, p. 174. 

56 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1784-1785. 

ting broken shins by falling over the rack-bar, which projects 
in high altitudes in front of the telescope, when in the hurry 
the cap had been forgotten to be put over it. 

Tn the long days of the summer months many ten- and 
seven-foot mirrors were finished ; there was nothing but 
grinding and polishing to be seen. For ten-foot several had 
been cast with ribbed backs by way of experiment to reduce 
the weight in large mirrors. In my leisure hours I 
ground seven-foot and plain mirrors from rough to fining 
down, and was indulged with polishing and the last finishing 
of a very beautiful mirror for Sir William "Watson, 

An account of the discoveries made with the twenty-foot 
and the improvements of the mechanical parts of that instru- 
ment during the winter of 1785, is given with the Catalogue 
of the first 1000 new nebula?. By which account it must 
plainly appear that the expenses of these improvements, and 
those which were yet to be made in the apparatus of the 
twenty-foot (which in fact proved to be a model of a larger 
instrument), could not be supplied out of a salary of 200 
a year, especially as my brother's finances had been too 
much reduced during the six months before he received 
his first quarterly payment of fifty pounds (which was 
Michaelmas, 1782). Travelling from Bath to London, 
Greenwich, Windsor, backwards and forwards, transporting 
the telescope, &c., breaking up his establishment at Bath 
and forming a new one near the Court, all this, even 
leaving such personal conveniences as he had for many 
years been used to, out of the question, could not be obtained 
for a trifle; a good large piece of ground was required 
for the use of the instruments, and a habitation in which he 
could receive and offer a bed to an astronomical friend, was 
necessary after a night's observation. 

It seemed to be supposed that enough had been done when 
my brother was enabled to leave his profession that he might 

CHAP. II.] Removal from Datchet to Clay Hall. 57 

have time to make and sell telescopes. The King ordered 
four ten-foot himself, and many seven-foot besides had been 
bespoke, and much time had already been expended on 
polishing the mirrors for the same. But all this was only 
retarding the work of a thirty or forty-foot instrument, which 
it was my brother's chief object to obtain as soon as possible ; 
for he was then on the wrong side of forty-five, and felt how 
great an injustice he would be doing to himself and to the 
cause of Astronomy by giving up his time to making tele- 
scopes for other observers. 

Sir William "Watson, who often in the lifetime of his 
father came to make some stay with us at Datchet, saw my 
brother's difficulties, and expressed great dissatisfaction. 
On his return to Bath he met -among the visitors there 
several belonging to the Court (among the rest Mde. 
Schwellenberg), to whom he gave his opinion concerning 
his friend and his situation very freely. In consequence of 
this my brother had soon after, through Sir J. Banks, the 
promise that 2000 would be granted for enabling him to 
make himself an instrument. 

Immediately every preparation for beginning the great 
work commenced. A very ingenious smith (Campion), who 
was seeking employment, was secured by my brother, and 
a temporary forge erected in an upstairs room. 

It soon became evident that the big, tumble-clown 
old house, which had been taken possession of with 
such eagerness, would not do : the rain came through 
the ceilings ; the damp situation brought on ague, and 
in June the brother and sister left it for a place called 
Clay Hall, Old Windsor. But here again unlooked-for 
troubles arose in consequence of the landlady being a 

58 Caroline Lucretia Hcrschel. [1786. 

" litigious woman," who refused to be bound to reason- 

O ' 

able terms, and at length, on the 3rd of April, 1786, 
the house and garden at SLOUGH were taken, and all the 
apparatus and machinery immediately removed there. 

.... And here I must remember that among all this 
hurrying business, every moment after da3'light was allotted 
to observing. The last night at Clay Hall was spent in 
sweeping till daylight, and by the next evening the telescope 

stood ready for observation at Slough A workman for 

the brass and optical parts was engaged, and two smiths 
were at work throughout the summer on different parts for 
the forty-foot telescope, and a whole troop of labourers were 
engaged in grinding the iron tools to a proper shape for the 
mirror to be ground on (the polishing and grinding by 
machines was not begun till about the end of 1788). These 
heavy articles were cast in town, and caused my brother fre- 
quent journeys to London, they were brought by water as 

far as Windsor At Slough no steady out-of-door 

workman for the sweeping handle could be met with, and a 
man-servant was engaged as soon as one could be found fit 
for the purpose. Meanwhile Campion assisted, but many 
memorandums were put down : " Lost a neb. by the blunder 
of the person at the handle." If it had not been sometimes 
for the intervention of a cloudy or moonlight night, I know 
not when my brother (or I either), should have got any 
sleep ; for with the morning came also his workpeople, of 
whom there were no less than between thirty and forty at 
work for upwards of three months together, some employed 
in felling and rooting out trees, some digging and pre- 
paring the ground for the bricklayers who were laying the 
foundation for the telescope, and the carpenter in Slough, 
with all his men. The smith, meanwhile, was converting a 

CHAP, ii.] Removal from Clay Hall to Slough. 59 

waslihouse into a forge, and manufacturing complete sets of 
tools required for the work he was to enter upon. Many 
expensive tools also were furnished by the ironmongers in 
Windsor, as well for the forge as for the turner and brass man. 
In short, the place was at one time a complete workshop for 
making optical instruments, and it was a pleasure to go into it 
to see how attentively the men listened to and executed their 
master's orders ; I had frequent opportunities for doing this 
when I was obliged to run to him with my papers or slate, 
when stopped in my work by some doubt or other. 

I cannot leave this subject without regretting, even 
twenty years after, that so much labour and expense 
should have been thrown away on a swarm of pilfering 
work-people, both men and women, with which Slough, I 
believe, was particularly infested. For at last everything 
that could be carried away was gone, and nothing but rubbish 
left. Even tables for the use of workrooms vanished : one 
in particular I remember, the drawer of which was filled 
was slips of experiments made on the rays of light and 
heat, was lost out of the room in which the women had been 
ironing. This could not but produce the greatest disorder 
and inconvenience in the library and in the room into which 
the apparatus for observing had been moved, when the 
observatory was wanted for some other purpose ; they 
were at last so encumbered by stores and tools of all sorts 
that no room for a desk or an Atlas remained. It 
required my utmost exertion to rescue the manuscripts in 
hand from destruction by falling into unhallowed hands or 
being devoured by mice. 

But I will now return to July, 1786, when my brother 
was obliged to deliver a ten-foot telescope as a present from 
the King to the Observatory of Gottingen. Before he left 
Slough on July 3rd, the stand of the forty-foot telescope 
stood on two circular walls capped with Portland stone 

60 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1786. 

(which, cracking by frost, were afterwards covered with 
oak) ready to receive the tube. The smith was left to con- 
tinue to work at the tube, which was sufficient employment 
cut out for him before he would want farther direction. 
The mirror was also pretty far advanced, and ready for the 
polish, for I remember to have seen twelve or fourteen men 
daily employed in grinding or polishing. 

To give a description of the task (or rather tasks) which 
fell to my share, the readiest way I think will be to tran- 
scribe out of a day-book which I began to keep at that time, 
and called " Book of work done." 

July 3. My brothers William and Alex, left Slough to 
begin their journey to Germany. Mrs. [Alex.] Herschel was 
left with me at Slough. By way of not suffering too much 
by sadness, I began with bustling work. I cleaned all the 
brass-work for seven and ten-foot telescopes, and put 
curtains before the shelves to hinder the dust from settling 
upon them again. 

4th. I cleaned and put the polishing-room in order, and 
made the gardener clear the work-yard, put everything in 
safety, and mend the fences. 

5th. I spent the morning in needle-work. In the after- 
noon went with Mrs. Herschel to "Windsor. "We chose the 
hours from two to six for shopping and other business, 
to be from home at the time most unlikely for any 
persons to call, but there had been four foreign gentlemen 
looking at the instruments in the garden, they had not 
left their names. In the evening Dr. and Mrs. Kelly (Mr. 
Dollond's daughter) and Mr. Gordon came to see me. 

6th. I put all the philosophical letters in order, and 

the collection of each year in a separate cover. 


12th. I put paper in press for a register, and calculated 
for Flamsteed's Catalogue. 

CHAP, ii.] Life and Work at Slough. Gl 

Mem, When Flamsteed's Catalogue was brought into 
zones in 1783, it was only taken up at 45 from the Pole, the 
apparatus not being then ready for sweeping in the zenith. 

By July 23rd the whole Catalogue was completed all but 
writing it in the clear, which at that time was a very neces- 
sary provision, as it was not till the year 1789 that 
Wollaston's Catalogue made its appearance. Many sweeps 
nearer the Pole than the register of sweeps, which only 
began at 45, being made, it became necessary to provide a 
register for marking those sweeps and the nebulae dis- 
covered in them. 

14i/i. Dr. and Mrs. Maskelyne called here with Dr. 

15th. I spent the day with Mrs. Herschel at Mrs. 
Kelly's. We met Dr. and Mrs. Maskelyne and Dr. 
Shepherd, Marquis of Huntley, &c., &c., there. 

IQth. I ruled part of the register of sweeps. 


l&th. I spent the whole day in ruling paper for the 
register ; except that at breakfast I cut out ruffles for shirts. 
Mr. and Mrs. Kelly and Mrs. Ramsden (Dollond's sister) 
called this evening. I tried to sweep, but it is cloudy, and 
the moon rises at half-past ten. 

19tJi. In the evening we swept from eleven till one. 

20/i. Prince Charles (Queen's brother) Duke of Saxe- 
Gotha and the Duke of Montague were here this morning. 
I had a message from the King to show them the in- 

* * * * -3.4 

I had intended to go on with my Diary till my brother's 
return, but it would be tedious, so of the rest I shall give 
only a summary account, and will mention in this place that 
all what follows would but be the same thing over again ; for 
the advantage of being quietly at work in the presence of 

62 Caroline Lucrctia HerscheL [1786. 

my brother to whom I could apply for information the moment 
a doubt occurred, never returned again, and often have I 
been racking my poor brains through a day and a night to 
very little purpose. I found it necessary to continue my 
memoranda of " work done " to the last day I had the care 
of my brother's MS. papers. But I had rather copy a few 
days more, as they contain the discovery of my first comet, 
and will serve also to show that I attempted to register all 
discovered nebulae, after a precept my brother had left me, 
as this Avas necessary for revising the MS. of the catalogue of 
the first thousand nebulae, which he expected at his return 
to find ready for correction from the printers. 

Z. I calculated all the day for Flamsteed's Cata- 

logue. Lord Mulgrave called this evening 

23rd. Received letters from Hanover. Finished cal- 
culating for Flamsteed's Catalogue. 

The two following short letters were carefully 
preserved, and, though they contain nothing of im- 
portance, they are of interest as being of the very 
few from the same pen which are not on scientific 


HANOVER, Friday, July 14, 1786. 

This moi'ning Ave arrived safely at Hanover. We are 
a little tired, but perfectly Avell in health. We travelled 
extra post all the way through very bad roads. The post 
is going out in a very little time, so that I write in a hurry 
that you might hear from us so much sooner. After a night 
or two of sleep here (by way of recovery) I shall go on 
to Gottingen ; but when I have collected my thoughts 

CHAP, ii.] Life and Work at Slough. 63 

better together I will Avrite more. Mamma is perfectly well 
and looks well. Jacob looks a little older, but not nearly so 
much as I expected. In Soplry [Mrs. Griesbach] there is 
hardly any change, but a few white hairs on her head. 
John [Dietrich] is just the same as before, his little boy 
seems to be a charming creature. Farewell, dear Lina. I 
hope we shall see you again in a few weeks. I must finish 
for Alexander to write. Adieu once more. 


[August, 1786.] 

"We are still in Hanover, and find it a most agree- 
able place. I have been in Gottingen, where Jacob went 
along with me, and the King's telescope arrived there in 
perfect order. The Society of Gottingen have elected me 
a member. We long very much to hear from you, as we 
have never had a letter yet. This is the fourth we have 
sent you, and we hope you received the former ones. This 
day fortnight we have fixed for our setting out from this 
place, and be assured that we shall be happy to see old 
England again, though old Germany is no bad place. 
Yesterday and the day before I have seen the Bishop of 
Osnaburgh and the Prince Edward. If an inquiry should 
be made about our return, you may say (I hope with truth) 
that we shall be back by about the 24th of August. Adieu, 

j. I registered some sweeps in present time and Pole 
distance. Prince Eesonico came with Dr. Shepherd to see 
the instruments. I swept from ten till one. 

ZSth. I wrote part of Flamstesd's Catalogue in the 
clear. It was a stormy night, we could not go to bed. 

C4 Caroline Lticretia Herschel. [17S6. 

j. I paid the smith. He received to-day the plates for 
the forty-foot tube. Above half of them are bad, but he thinks 
there will be as many good among them as will be wanted, 
and I believe he intends to keep the rest till they return. 
Paid the gardener for four days which he worked with the 
smith. I registered sweeps to-day. By way of memoran- 
dum I will set down in this book in what manner I proceed. 

I began some time ago with the last sweep which is 
booked in the old register (Flamsteed's time and P. D.), 
viz., 571, and at different times I booked 570, 569, 568, 567, 
566, 565. To-day I booked 564 ; 563 is marked not to be 
registered ; 560 and 561 I was obliged to pass over on 
account of some difficulty. The rest of the day I wrote in 
Flamsteed's Catalogue. The storm continued all the day, 
but now, 8 o'clock, it turns to a gentle rain. 

30/i. I wound up the sidereal timepiece, Field's and 
Alexander's clocks, and made covers for the new and old 

31sf. I booked 558, 557, and 554; 556, 555, I was 
obliged to leave out on account of some difficulty. 

Mem. I find I cannot go on fast enough with the 
registering of sweeps to be serviceable to the Catalogue of 
Nebulee. Therefore I will begin immediately to recalculate 
them, and hope to finish them before they return. Besides, 
I think the consequences of registering the sweeps back- 
wards will be bad. 

August 1. I have counted one hundred nebulae to-day, 
and this evening I saw an object which I believe will prove 
to-morrow night to be a comet. 

2ncL To-day I calculated 150 nebulas. I fear it will not 
be clear to-night. It has been raining throughout the whole 
day, but seems now to clear up a little. 

1 o'clock. The object of last night is a comet. 

3rd. I did not go to rest till I had wrote to Dr. Blagden 

CHAP, ii.] Slough. The first Comet. 65 

and Mr. Aubert to announce the comet. After a few hours* 
sleep, I went in the afternoon to Dr. Lind, who, with Mr. 
Cavallo, accompanied me to Slough, with the intention of 
seeing the comet, but it was cloudy, and remained so all night. 


August 2, 1786. 

In consequence of the friendship which I know to 
exist between you and my brother, I venture to trouble you, 
in his absence, with the following imperfect account of a 
comet : 

The employment of writing down the observations when 
my brother uses the twenty-foot reflector does not often allow 
me time to look at the heavens, but as he is now on a visit 
to Germany, I have taken the opportunity to sweep in 
the neighbourhood of the sun in search of comets; and 
last night, the 1st of August, about 10 o'clock, I found an 
object very much resembling in colour and brightness the 
27 nebula of the Connoissance des Temps, with the differ- 
ence, however, of being round. I suspected it to be a 
comet; but a haziness coming on, it was not possible 
to satisfy myself as to its motion till this evening. 
I made several drawings of the stars in the field of view 
with it, and have enclosed a copy of them, with my obser- 
vations annexed, that you may compare them together. 

August 1, 1786, 9 h 50'. Fig. 1. The object in the centre 
is like a star out of focus, while the rest are perfectly distinct, 
and I suspect it to be a comet. 

10 h 33'. Fig. 2. The suspected comet makes now a 
perfect isosceles triangle with the two stars a and &. 

ll h 8'. I think the situation of the comet is now as in 
Fig. 3, but it is so hazy that I cannot sufficiently see the 
small star b to be assured of the motion. 

66 Caroline Liicretia Herschel. [1786. 

By the naked eye the comet is between the 54 and 53 
Urse Majoris and the 14, 15, and 16 Comae Berenices, and 
makes an obtuse triangle with them, the vertex of which 
is turned towards the south. 

Aug. 2nd, 10 h 9'. The comet is now, with respect to the 
stars a and b, situated as in Fig. 4, therefore the motion 
since last night is evident. 

10 h 30'. Another considerable star, c, may be taken into 
the field with it by placing a in the centre, when the comet 
and the other star will both appear in the circumference, as 
in Fig. 5. 

These observations were made with a Newtonian sweeper 
of 27-inch focal length, and a power of about 20. The 
field of view is 2 12'. I cannot find the stars a or c in any 
catalogue, but suppose they may easily be traced in the 
heavens, whence the situation of the comet, as it was last 
night at 10 h 33', may be pretty nearly ascertained. 

You will do me the favour of communicating these 
observations to my brother's astronomical friends. 
I have the honour to be, 

Your most obedient, humble servant, 

August 2nd, 1786. 



SLOUGH, Augvst 2, 178G. 


August 1st, in the evening, at 10 o'clock, I saw an 
object very much resembling (in colour and brightness) the 
27 of Mr. Messier's Nebulae, except this object being round. 
I suspected it to be a comet ; but a haziness came on before 
I could convince myself of its having moved. I made 
several figures of the objects in the field, whereof I take the 

CHAP, ii.] Sloitgh. The first Comet. 67 

liberty to send the first, that you might compare it with 
what I saw to-night. 

In Fig. 1 I observed the nebulous spot in the centre, a 
bright red but small star upwards, another very faint white 
star following, and in the situation as marked in the figure. 
There is a third star preceding, but exceedingly faint. I 
suspected several more, which may perhaps appear in a 
finer evening, but they were not distinct enough to take 
account of. 

In Fig. 2, August 2nd, are only the red and its follow- 
ing star : the preceding, in Fig. 1, is partly hid in the rays 
of the comet, and by one or two glimpses I had, I think it 
is got before it. 

In Fig. 3 I took the comet in the edge by way of 
taking in the assistance of another star of about the same 
size and colour as that in the centre. 

The only stars I can possibly see with the naked eye 
which might be of service to point out the place of the 
comet are 53 and 54 Ursse Maj., from which it is at about an 
equal distance with the 14, 15, and 16 Comae Ber., and 
makes an obtuse angle with them. I think it must be about 
1 above the parallel of the 15 Comae. 

I made these observations with my little Newtonian 
sweeper, and used a power of about 30 : the field is about 
lj degree. 

I hope, sir, you will excuse the trouble I give you with 
my wag [g#. vague] description, which is owing to my being 
a, bad (or what is better) no observer at all. For these 
last three years I have not had an opportunity to look as 
many hours in the telescope. 

Lastly, I beg of you, sir, if this comet should not have 
been seen before, to take it under your protection in regard 
to A. R. and D. C. 

F 2 

68 Caroline Lucrctia Herschel. [1786. 

With my respectful compliments to the ladies, your sisters,. 
I have the honour to be, 

Your most obedient, humble servant, 




August 5, 1786. 


Mr. Aubert's letter, as well as that with which you 
favoured me, both arrived safe. The evening was fine on 
Thursday, but Mr. Aubert was prevented from going to 
Loam Pit Hill, and I have no opportunity of making 
astronomical observations here, so that I believe the comet 
has not yet been seen by anyone in England but yourself. 
Yesterday the visitation of the Koyal Observatory at 
Greenwich was held, where most of the principal astrono- 
mers in and near London attended, which afforded an 
opportunity of spreading the news of your discovery, and I 
doubt not but many of them will verify it the next clear 
night. I also mentioned it in a letter to Paiis, and in 
another I had occasion to write to Munich, in Germairy. 
If the weather should be favourable on Sunday evening, it 
is not impossible that Sir Joseph Banks and some friends 
from his house may wait upon you to beg the favour of 
viewing this phenomenon through your telescope. 

Accept my best thanks for your obliging attention in 
communicating to me the news, and believe me to be, with 
great esteem, 

Your obedient, humble servant, 


i 'HAP. ii.] Slough. The first Comet. 69 


LONDOX, 7th August, 1786. 


I am sure you have a better opinion of me than to 
think I have been ungrateful for your very, very kind letter 
of the 2nd August. You will have judged I wished to give 
you some account of your comet before I answered it. I 
wish you joy, most sincerely, on the discovery. I am more 
pleased than you can well conceive that you have made it, 
and I think I see your ivotiderfully clever and wonderfully 
amiable brother, upon the news of it, shed a tear of joy. 
You have immortalized your name, and you deserve such a 
reward from the Being who has ordered all these things to 
move as we find them, for your assiduity in the business of 
astronomy, and for your love for so celebrated and so 
deserving a brother. I received your very kind letter about 
the comet on the 3rd, but have not been able to observe it 
till Saturday, the 5th, owing to cloudy weather. I found it 
immediately by your directions ; it is very curious, and in 
every respect as you describe it. I have compared it to a 
fixed star, on Saturday night and Sunday night 

You see it travels very fast at the rate of 2 10' per day 
and moves but little in N. P. D. These observations were 
made with an equatorial micrometer of Mr. Smeaton's con- 
struction, which your brother must recollect to have seen at 
Loam Pit Hill. I need not tell you that meridian observa- 
tions with my transit instrument and mural quadrant must 
have been much more accurate. I give you a little figure 
of its appearance last night and the preceding night upon 
the scale of Flamsteed's Atlas Ccelestis [here follows the 
.sketch -figure]. 

By the above, you will see it will be very near 19 of 

70 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1786. 

Comse Berenices to-night, and it will be a curious observa- 
tion if it should prove an occultation of one of the stars of 
the Comse. Notice has been given to astronomers at home 
and abroad of the discovery. I shall continue to observe it, 
and will give you by-and-by a further account of it. In the 
meanwhile believe me to be, with much gratitude and 

Dear Miss Herschel, 

Your most obedient and obliged 
humble servant, 


P.S. I was glad to hear to-day, by my friends at our club,, 
that they had seen you last night in good health ; pray let 
me know what news you have of your brother, and when we 
may expect to see him. I have had twice at Loani Pit Hill 
his serene highness the Duke of Saxe Gotha, and enter- 
tained him, Count Bruhl, and Mr. Oriani (a Milanese astro- 
nomer), with your comet last night. My sisters return you 
many thanks for your kind remembrance, and, with their 
best compliments, enjoin me to wish you joy. 


SLOUGH, August 4, 1786. 

We received yesterday William's and Alexander's 
letter, and find that they intend to leave Hanover on the 8th 
of August, therefore they will not see the contents of this. 
However, as you have an instrument, I think you are 
entitled to information of a telescopic comet which I 
happened to discover on the 1st of August, and which I 
found, by the observations of the 2nd, to have moved 
nearly three-quarters of a degree. Last night it was cloudy,, 
but I hope the weather will be more favourable another 

CHAP. ii. j Employments at Slough. 71 

night, that we may see a little more of it. I believe you 
have a pair of Harris's maps ; the place where I saw the 
comet is between 53 and 54 Ursse Maj. and the 14, 15, and 
16 Coma? Ber. of Flamsteed's Catalogue. All stars of 
Flamst. are in Bode's Cat. to be found, and if you cannot do 
without it, I dare say it is to be met with at Hanover. . . . 

I found it with a magnifier of about 30, with a field of 
about \\ degree. Now, if you have a piece which is nearly 
like this, I would advise you to make use of that in sweeping 
all around this place, for it must be, by the time you receive 
this letter, at a considerable distance. 

When I saw it, it appeared like a very bright, but round, 
small nebula. 

The first letter I received from Hanover from William 
gave us the greatest satisfaction imaginable, for it contained 
an account of the good health of all our dear relations. I 
hope our dear mother does not grieve too much now they 
have left her. I dare say William will pay soon another 
visit, and then I will take that opportunity of coming to see 
her. Farewell, dear brother; give my best love, &c. 

To this period of Miss Herschel's life belongs a folio 
manuscript book, written with the utmost neatness, 
which she sent with one of her various consignments- 
of papers to her nephew after her return to Hanover, 
and introduced as follows : 


This is the fragment of a book which was too bulky 
for the portfolio in which I was collecting such papers as I 
wished might not fall into any other but your own hands. 
They contain chiefly answers of your father to the inquiries 
I used to make when at breakfast before we separated each 
for our daily tasks. 

72 Caroline Liter etia Herschel. [1786-1787. 

The information is of a very miscellaneous kind, 
but matters connected with her special study form 
the greater part of the questions. For instance : 

" Given the true time of the transit take a transit. 
Do the same thing another way. 
To find what star Mercury is nearest. 
Take its place in the Nautical Almanac. 

Another way 


Time of a star's motion to be turned into space. 


To adjust the quadrant when fastened to the telescope. 


A logarithm given, to find the angle. 
Oblique spherical triangles." 

4th. I wrote to-day to Hanover, booked my observations, 
.and made a fair copy of three letters. Made accounts. 
The night is cloudy. 

5th. I calculated nebulae all day. The night was toler- 
ably fine, and I saw the comet. 

6th. I booked my observations of last night. Received 
a letter from Dr. Blagden in the moming, and in the evening 
Sir J. Banks, Lord Palmerston, and Dr. Blagden, came and 
saw the comet. The evening was very fine. 

7th, 8th. Booked my observations ; was hindered much 
by being obliged to find a man to assist the smith. Dr. 
Lind and Mr. Cavallo came on the 8th, and Mr. Paradise 
in the afternoon, but the evening was cloudy. 

9th. I calculated 100 nebulae 

lOt/t. Calculated 100 nebulae. The smith borrowed a 
guinea. He complains of Turner (the gardener), but we 
will, if possible, have patience till my brother returns. 

CHAP, ii.] Employments at Slough. 73 

lltk. I completed to-day the catalogue of the first 

12/i calculated 200 nebulae of the second thou- 

13i/i. Professor Kratzensteine, from Copenhagen, was 
here to-day. In the evening I saw the comet and swept. 

14tk I calculated 140 nebulae to-day, which 

brought me up to the last discovered nebulae, and, therefore, 
this work is finished. 

15th. I went up with Mrs. H. to Windsor to pay some 
bills and to buy several articles against my brother's return. 

Wtli my brothers returned about three in the 


It would be impossible for me, if it were required, to give 
a regular account of all that passed around me in the lapse 
of the following two years, for they were spent in a perfect 
chaos of business. The garden and workrooms were 
swarming with labourers and workmen, smiths and carpenters 
going to and fro between the forge and the forty-foot 
machinery, and I ought not to forget that there is not one 
screw-bolt about the whole apparatus but what was fixed 
under the immediate eye of my brother. I have seen him 
lie stretched many an hour in a burning sun, across the 
top beam whilst the iron work for the various motions was 
being fixed. 

At one time no less than twenty-four men (twelve and 
twelve relieving each other) kept polishing day and night ; 
my brother, of course, never leaving them all the while, 
taking his food without allowing himself time to sit down 
to table. 

The moonlight nights were generally taken advantage of for 
experiments, and for the frequent journeys to town which he 

74 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1786-1787. 

was obliged to make to order and provide the tools and 
materials which were continually wanting, I may say by 

The discovery of the Georgian satellites caused many 
breaks in the sweeps which were made at the end of 1786 
and beginning of 1787, by leaving off abruptly against the 
meridian passage of the planet, .which occasioned much 
work, both in shifting of the instrument and booking the 
observations. Much confusion at first prevailed among 
the loose papers on which the first observations were 
noted, and some of them have perhaps been lost ; for I 
remember several configurations of the situation of the 
satellites having been made by Sir William Watson and Mr. 

Marsden, and only one could be found 

* # # * * 

That the discovery of these satellites must have brought 
many nocturnal visitors to Slough may easily be imagined, 
and many times have I listened with pain to the conversation 
my brother held with his astronomical friends when quite 
exhausted by answering their numerous questions. For I 
well knew that on such occasions, instead of renewing his 
strength by going to rest, that there were too man}- who 
could not go on without his direction, among whom I often 
was included, for I very seldom could get a paper out of his 
hands time enough for finishing the copy against the 
appointed day for its being taken to town. But considering 
that no less than seven papers were delivered to the Pioj-al 
Society in 1786-1787, it may easily be judged that my 
brother's study had not been entirely deserted. I had 
always some kind of work in hand with which I could 
proceed without troubling him with questions ; such as the 
temporary index which I began in June, 1787. Some 
years after, the index to Flamsteed's observations, calculat- 
ing the beginning and ending of sweeps and their breadth, 

CHAP, ii.] Slough Appointed Assistant Astronomer, ,75 

for filling up the vacant places in the registers, and works of 
that kind, filled up the intervals when nothing more neces- 
sary was in hand. 

My brother Jacob was with us from April till October, 
1787, when he returned to Hanover again. Alexander came 
only for a short time to give his brother the meeting, 
Mrs. H. being too ill to be left long alone. (She died in 
January of 1788.) 

Professor Snaidecky often saw some objects through the 
twentj'-foot telescope, among others the Georgian satellites. 
He had taken lodgings in Slough for the puqDose of seeing 
and hearing my brother whenever he could find him at 
leisure ; he was a very silent man. 

My brother's bust was taken by Lockie, according to Sir 
Wm. Watson's order. Professor Wilson and my brother 
Jacob* were present. 

In August an additional man-servant was engaged, who 
would be wanted at the handles of the motions of the forty- 
foot, for which the mirror in the beginning of July was so 
far finished as to be used for occasional observations on trial. 

Such a person was also necessary for showing the 
telescopes to the curious strangers, as by their numerous 
visits my brother or myself had for some time past been 
much incommoded. In consequence of an application 
made through Sir J. Banks to the King, my brother 
had in August a second 2,000 granted for completing 
the forty-foot, and 200 yearly for the expense of re- 
pairs, such as ropes, painting, &c., &c., and the keep and 
clothing of the men who attended at night. A salary of 
fifty pounds a year was also settled on me as an assistant to 
my brother, and in October I received twelve pounds ten, 
being the first quarterly payment of my salary, and the first 

* This is the last time that the name of Jacob Herschel appears. 

76 Caroline Lucrctia Herschel. [1767-1788. 

money I ever in all my lifetime thought myself to be at 
liberty to spend to my own liking. A fgreat uneasiness 
was by this means removed from my mind, for though I had 
generally (and especially during the last busy six years) been 
almost the keeper of my brother's purse, with a charge 
to provide for my personal wants, only annexing in my 
accounts the memorandum for Car. to the sums so laid 
out when cast up, they hardly amounted to seven or 
eight pounds per year since the time we had left Bath. 
Nothing but bankruptcy had all the while been running 
through my silly head, when looking at the sums of my weekly 
accounts and knowing they could be but trifling in compari- 
son with what had been and had yet to be paid in town, for 
my brother had not been fortunate enough to meet with a 
reasonable man for a caster who could also furnish the 
crane, &c., and his bills came in greatly overcharged. But 
more of this in another place. I will only add that from 
this time the utmost activity prevailed to forward the com- 
pletion of the forty-foot. An additional optical workman 
was engaged, and preparation made for casting the second 
mirror. Journeys to town were made for moulding, and at 
the end of January a fine cast mirror arrived safely at 
Slough. Several seven-foot telescopes were finished and 
sent off. 

The fine nights were not neglected, though observations 
were often interrupted by visitors. Messrs. Casini, Meehain, 
Le Genre, and Carochet spent November 26th and 27th with 
my brother, and saw many objects in the twenty-foot and 
other instruments. 

The catalogue of the second thousand new nebulae 
wanted but a few numbers in March to being complete. 
The observations on the Georgian satellites furnished a 
paper which was delivered to the Royal Society in May. 
The 8th of that month being fixed on for my brother's 

CHAP, ii.] Slo2igh Marriage of Dr. Herschel. 77 

marriage, it may easily be supposed that I must have been 
fully employed (besides minding the heavens) to prepare 
everything as well as I could against the time I was to give 
up the place of a housekeeper, which was the 8th of May, 




WITH the second volume of " Recollections" all 
connected narrative and detailed relation of daily 
events ceases, and for the ten years from 1788 to 1798 
there is not even the journal, which, however, was 
resumed in the latter year. All has been destroyed. 
An event so important as her brother's marriage * is 
only noticed as fixing the date when the " place of a 
housekeeper " had to be resigned. Miss Herschel lived 
from henceforth in lodgings, coming every day for her 
work, and in all respects continuing the same labours 
as her brother's assistant and secretary as before. But 
it is not to be supposed that a nature so strong and 
a heart so affectionate should accept the new state of 
things without much and bitter suffering. To resign 
the supreme place by her brother's side which she had 
filled for sixteen years with such hearty devotion could 

* Dr. Herschel married Mary, only child of Mr. James Baldwin, a merchant 
of the City of London, and widow of John Pitt, Esq., by whom she had one 
son, who died in early youth. She was a lady of singular amiability and 
gentleness of character. The jointure which she brought enabled Dr. 
Herschel to pursue his scientific career without any anxiety about money 

CHAP, in.] Her Brother's Marriage. 79 

not be otherwise than painful in any case ; but how 
much more so in this where equal devotion to the 
same pursuit must have made identity of interest and 
purpose as complete as it is rare. One who could 
both feel and express herself so strongly was not 
likely to fall into her new place without some outward 
expression of what it cost her tradition confirms 
the assumption and it is easy to understand how this 
long significant silence is due to the light of later 
wisdom and calmer judgment which counselled the 
destruction of all record of what was likely to be 
painful to survivors. 

Her later letters abundantly show that she had 
learned to love the gentle sister-in-law whom she so 
pathetically entreats to hold on with her in their 
common old age, and the journals of her astro- 
nomical researches sufficiently prove that her zeal 
in " minding the Heavens " knew no abatement. It 
was at this period also that she made some of her 
most important discoveries. Before the end of 1797 
she had announced the discovery of eight comets, to 
five of which the priority of her claim over other 
observers is unquestioned. A packet, in coarse paper, 
bearing the superscription, " This is what I call the 
Sills and Receipts of my Comets," contains some data 
connected with the discovery of these objects, each 
folded in a separate paper, and marked " First Comet," 
" Second Comet," &c., &c. Some of the correspond- 

80 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1788. 

ence on the occasion of her first discovery has already 
been quoted, and in a note she explains that many of the 
letters from distinguished men which she received had 
been given to collectors of autographs. The letter to 
the Astronomer Royal, announcing the discovery of 
her second comet, has been preserved, with his 



Last night, December 21st, at 7 h 45', I discovered a 
comet, a little more than one degree south preceding ft 
Lyrse. This morning, between five and six, I saw it again, 
when it appeared to have moved about a quarter of a degree 
towards 8 of the same constellation. I beg the favour of 
you to take it under your protection. 

Mrs. Herschel and my brothers join with me in com- 
pliments to Mrs. Maskeryne and yourself, and I have the 
honour to remain, 

Dear sir, 

Your most obliged, humble servant, 

SLOUGH, Dec. 22, 1788. 

P.S. The comet precedes 13 Lyrse 7' 5" in time, and is 
in the parallel of the small star (/3 being double). See fifth 
class, third star, of my catalogue. WM. H. 


GREENWICH, December 27, 1788. 


I thank you for your favour of the 22nd instant, con- 

CHAP, in.] Second Comet discovered. 81 

taining an account of your discovery of a second comet 
on the 21st, and recommending it to my attention. 

I received it only on the 24th, at ten in the morning, 
owing to the slowness of our penny post. 

I delayed acknowledging it till I could inform you at the 
same time I had seen it. The frost, unfortunately for us 
astronomers, broke up the very same morning that your 
letter arrived, in consequence of which the weather has been 
so bad that I could not get a sight of your comet till last 
night, the 26th, when, at 6' 1 34', it followed a Lyrse in the 
A. K., 3' 1" of time, and was 2 30' S. of it. This only by 
the divisions of the equatorial and meridian circles, but true 
to a minute or two of declination and five seconds of time. 
I compared it more accurately with a small telescopic star 
nearer it, which, when settled hereafter, will determine its 
place within 30" of a degree. Hence its A. E. was about 
18 h 33' 55", and distance from the North Pole 53 59'. By 
your observation of December 22nd, 5 h 31' in the morning, 
its A. E. was 18 h 35' 12", and P. D. 56 56'. Hence it has 
moved retrograde in A. E. about the rate of 17' of time per 
day, and 30' per day northward in decimation, which agrees 
nearly with your observation of its approach towards 8 Lyree. 
Its motion is fortunately favourable for our keeping sight of 
it for some time, which may be very useful, especially if it 
should be moving from us, which there is an equal chance 
for, as the contrary. It appeared to me very faint, and 
rather small, but the air was hazy. By its faintness and 
slow motion, it is probably at a considerable distance from 
the earth. Time will explain these things. Let us hope 
the best, and that it is approaching the earth to please and 
instruct us, and not to destroy us, for true astronomers 
have no fears of that kind. Witness Sir Harry Englefield's 
valuable tables of the apparent places of the Comet of 1661, 
expected to return at this time, with a delineation of its 

82 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [uss. 

orbit, who, in page 7, speaks of the possibility of seeing 
a curious and beautiful transit of it over the sun's disk, 
should the earth and comet be in the line of the nodes at 
the same time, without horror at the thought of our being 
involved in its immense tail. I would not affirm that there 
may not exist some astronomers so enthusiastic that they 
would not dislike to be whisked away from this low terres- 
trial spot into the higher regions of the heavens by the tail 
of a comet, and exchange our narrow uniform orbit for one 
vastly more extended and varied. But I hope you, dear 
Miss Caroline, for the benefit of terrestrial astronomy, will 
not think of taking such a flight, at least till your friends are 
ready to accompany you. Mrs. Maskelyne joins me in best 
compliments to yourself and Dr. and Mrs. Herschel. If 
your observation was precise as to the difference of A.E. of 
the comet and /3 Lyra3, it may be of use for determining the 
orbit, especially if the comet should be going off from us. 
I have not yet examined whether it can be the French 
comet discovered by M. Messier, on the 26th of last month, 
which was going from the earth. Its apparent motion must 
have turned at right angles to its former one, which is pos- 
sible, but not very probable. I could not see your comet 
with the night glass, nor would its faintness allow of illu- 
minating the wires. 

I remain, dear Miss Caroline, 
Your obedient and obliged humble servant, 



December 22, 1788. 


Your intelligence of the comet I received, but 011 
account of the long time elapsed since the 2nd and 3rd of 
this month we have not been able to recover the fugitive. 

CHAP, in.] Second Comet discovered. 83 

Last night, however, my sister discovered a comet near 
13 Lyrse, which you will find no difficulty to follow as its 
motion is very slow, and the comet a pretty visible object. 
We saw it again this morning, and it seems to go towards 
8 Lyrse, you will see it pass by /3 Lyrse. It is a much larger 
object than the nebula near /3 Lyrse, discovered by Mr. 
Darquier, of Toulouse (Connoissance des Temps, 75). 


PETERSHAM, December 25, 1788. 

I am much obliged to you for j'our account of the 
comet, and beg you to make my compliments to Miss 
Herschel on her discovery. She will soon be the great 
comet finder, and bear away the prize from Messier and 

The weather yesternight was bad, and to-night I have 
looked for it, in the moments of fine weather, with a good 
night-glass, but am not sure that I saw it, though I thought 
I perceived it about half-way between /3 and 8 Lyrse. The 
glass I used showed D'Arquier's nebula, though but faintly. 
Before I could get any other telescope ready, the weather 
clouded. If you have seen it again, pray be so good as to 
give me its place when you saw it last, and with what power 
and light it may be seen. I was going to write to Messier 
about his comet, but have deferred it, as I would not mention 
yours without your leave, and could not find it in my heart 
to write without doing it. 

Believe me, dear Sir, 

With all the wishes of the season, 
Your much obliged and faithful 


G 2 

84 Caroline Lucretia HerscJul. [1788-1790. 



The last time I was in town, you expressed a wish to 
see my observations on the comet which niy sister, Caroline 
Herschel, discovered in the evening of the 21st of last 
December, not far from /3 Lyrse. 

As she immediately acquainted the Eeverend Dr. Mas- 
kelyne and several other gentlemen with her discovery, the 
comet was observed by many of them. The Astronomer 
Royal in particular having, I find, obtained a very good set 
of valuable observations on its path, it will be sufficient if I 
communicate only those particulars which relate to its first 
appearance, and a few other circumstances that may perhaps 
deserve to be noticed. 

Dec. 21s, 1788. About 8 o'clock I viewed the comet 
which my sister had a little while before pointed out 
to me with her small Newtonian sweeper. In my instru- 
ment, which was a ten-foot reflector, it had the appearance 
of a considerably bright nebula, of an irregular round form, 
very gradually brighter in the middle, and about five or six 
minutes in diameter. The situation was low, and not very 
proper for instruments with high powers. 

Dec. 22nd. About half-after 5 o'clock in the morn- 
ing I viewed it again, and perceived that it had moved 
apparently in a direction towards 8 Lyrse, or thereabout. I 
had been engaged all night with the twenty-foot instrument, 
so that there had been no leisure to prepare my apparatus for 
taking the place of the comet ; but in the evening of the 
same day I took its situation three times 

In every observation I found the small star which accom- 
panies ft Lyrse exactly in the parallel of the cornet. 

These transits were taken with a ten-foot reflector, and 
the difference in right ascension, I should suppose, may be 
depended upon to within a second of time. The deterrni- 

CHAP, in.] The Third Comet seen. 8 5 

nation also of the parallel can hardly err so much as 15 
seconds of a degree. 

This, and several evenings afterwards, I viewed the comet 
again with such powers as its diluted light would permit, 
but could not perceive any sort of nucleus which, had it 
been a single second in diameter, I think, could not well 
have escaped me. This circumstance seems to be of some 
consequence to those who turn their thoughts on the inves- 
tigation of the nature of comets, especially as I have also 
formerly made the same remark on one of the comets dis- 
covered by Mr. Mechain in 1787, a former one of my sister's 
in 1786, and one of Mr. Pigott's in 1783, in neither of 
which any denned, solid nucleus, could be perceived. 
I have the honour to remain, 
Sir, &c., 


March 3, 1789. 

The third comet was discovered on the 7th January, 
1790 ; the fourth on the 17th April of the same year, 
during her brother's absence from home. It was 
announced to Sir Joseph Banks in the following 
letter : * 

April 19th, 1790. 


I am very unwilling to trouble you with incomplete 
observations, and for that reason did not acquaint you 
yesterday with the discovery of a comet. I wrote an 
account of it to Dr. Maskelyne and Mr. Aubert, in hopes 
that either of those gentlemen, or my brother, whom I 
expect every day to return, would have furnished me with 
the means of pointing it out in a proper manner. 

But as perhaps several days might pass before I could 

86 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1790. 

have any answer to my letters, or my brother return, I 
would not wish to be thought neglectful, and therefore if 
you think, sir, the following description is sufficient, and 
that more of my brother's astronomical friends should be 
made acquainted with it, I should be very happy if you 
would be so kind as to do it for the sake of astronomy. 

The comet is a little more than 3| following a Andro- 
inedae, and about \\ above the parallel of that star. I saw 
it first on April 17th, I6 h 24' sidereal time, and the first 
view I could have of it last night was 16 h 5'. As far as I 
am able to judge, it has decreased in P. D. nearly 1, and 
increased in A. K. something above 1'. 

These are only estimations from the field of view, and I 
only mention it to show that its motion is not so very rapid. 

I am, &c., 

C. H. 


SLOUGH, April 18, 1790. 


I am almost ashamed to write to you, because I 
never think of doing so but when I am in distress. I found 
last night, at 16 h 24' sidereal time, a comet, and do not 
know what to do with it, for my new sweeper is not half 
finished ; and besides, I broke the handle of the perpendi- 
cular motion in my brother's absence (who is on a little 
tour into Yorkshire). He has furnished me to that instru- 
ment a Rumboides, but the wires are too thin, and I have 
no contrivance for illuminating them. All my hopes were 
that I should not find anything which would make me feel 
the want of these things in his absence ; but, as it happens, 
here is an object in a place where there is no nebula, or 
anything which could look like a comet, and I would be 
much obliged to you, sir, if you would look at the place 

CHAP, in.] Letters about the Third Comet. 87 

where the annexed eye-draft will direct you to. My brother 
has swept that part of the heavens, and has many iiebulse 
there, but none which I must expect to see with my instru- 
ment. I will not write to Sir J. Banks or Dr. Maskelyne, or 
anybody, till you, sir, have seen it ; but if you could, without 
much trouble, give my best respects and that part of this 
letter which points out the place of the comet to Mr. 
Wollaston, you would make me very happy. 

I am, dear sir, &c., &c., 

C. H. 


SOHO SQUARE, April 20, 1790. 

I return you many thanks for the communication 
you were so good as to make to me this day of your dis- 
covery of a comet. I shall take care to make our astrono- 
mical friends acquainted with the obligations they are under 
to your diligence. 

I am always happy to hear from you, but never more so 
than when you give me an opportunity of expressing my 
obligations to } r ou for advancing the science you cultivate 
with so much success. 

Dear Madam, 

Your faithful servant, 



LONDON, the 2,1st April, Wednesday, 1790. 

I am much obliged to you for your kind letter. The 
night before last was cloudy. Last night, or rather this 
morning, about half-past two, I got up to look for the 

88 Caroline Liicretia, Herschel. [1790. 

phenomenon ; it was somewhat hazy. I observed with a 
common night-glass of Dollond's a faint something in a line 
between a and TT Andromedse, much like a faint star ; it had 
no coma nor fuzzy appearance. By looking at Flamsteed's 
Atlas I find no small star there. I was preparing to attack 
it with a good magnifying power, and to get its place with 
my Smeaton's equatorial micrometer, but when I was ready 
a haze came on, and soon after too much daylight, so I can 
say no more to it as yet. If I saw what you judged a comet, 
it must have moved but little since you saw it ; it was as 
large as a star of 7th magnitude, but rather faint. I sent 
this morning to Dr. Maskelyne : he says he could see 
nothing with a good night glass, but will try again the next 
fair morning, and after trying he will answer you ; in the 
meanwhile he begs his best compliments. I will also try 
again. Pray let me know if you think it was the comet I 
saw. I have mentioned it to no one but to Mr. "Wollaston, 
who thanks you sincerely, but did not find himself well 
enough to observe ; he lives in Charter House Square ; 
direct upon occasion there to the Rev. Francis Wollaston. 

You cannot, my dear Miss Herschel, judge of the 
pleasure I feel when your reputation and fame increase ; 
everyone must admire your and your brother's knowledge, 
industry, and behaviour. God grant you many years health 
and happiness. I will soon pay you a visit, as soon as your 
brother returns. If I have any instrument you wish to use, 
it is at your service. 

Believe me, &c., &c., 


CHAI>. in.] Letters from Astronomers. 89 


GREENWICH, April 22, 1790. 

* * If I misunderstand anything I shall be obliged 
to you for an explanation. The weather has not permitted 
me to see anything of the comet yet, but it seems now 
mending, and I hope to be able to make something of it to- 
morrow morning. Your second communication, at the same 
time that it gives me fresh spirits as to the certainty of its 
being a comet, will certainly assist me in more readily 
finding it. I feared that your using your new telescope 
might make that a bright comet to you which might prove 
but a very faint one, if at all visible, in a common night- 
glass, which is what we first use to discover a comet with. 
As soon as I shall have seen it I will send you a line. I 
sent intelligence of your discovery to M. Mechain, at Paris, 
last Tuesday, and will send to him your farther communica- 
tion next Friday. Mr. Maskelyne joins me in best compli- 
ments to yourself and Mrs. Herschel, and Dr. Herschel on 
his return. Dr. Shepherd sent advice of it from me last Tues- 
day to the Master of Trinity, at Cambridge, who perhaps 
may convey the agreeable intelligence to your brother. 
I remain, dear Miss Herschel, 
My worthy sister in astronomy, 

Your faithful and obliged humble servant, 



RUE COLLEGE ROYAL, le 12 Juillet, 1790. 


J'ai recu avec la plus delicieuse satisfaction la premiere 

90 Caroline Lucretia Hcrsckel. 

lettre clont vous m'avez honore ; je ne pouvois attribuer votre 
silence a une timiclite que votre reputation condamne, mais 
je 1'aurais attribue' a mon pen de merite si vous aviez 
continue de me refuser une reponse. Vous ecrivez si bien 
que vous ne pouvez pas avoir a cet egard une excuse 

Vous verrez bientot M. Ungeschick qui a baptise votre 
filleule Caroline, dites lui qu'elle se porte beaucoup mieux 
ainsi que le petite Isaac (je 1'ai ainsi nomme en memoire 
d'Isaac Newton), pour sa sceur je ne pouvois lui dormer un 
noin plus illustre que le votre ; c'est ce que j'ai fait 
remarquer en annongant sa naissance dans notre Moniteur 
ou Gazette Nationale du 31 Janvier, je ne pouvois vous 
donner un compere d'un plus grand merite que M. 
Delambre. II fait actuellement des tables des Satellites de 
Jupiter qui surpassent de beaucoup celles de M. Wargentin. 

Votre commere ma niece calcule des tables pour trouver 
1'heure en mer par la hauteur du soleil. Mde. du Piery 
calcule des observations d'eclipses. Pour moi, je suis 
occupe des etoiles, j'en ai deja 6,000 ; votre compere Le- 
Fran9ais* y met beaucoup de soin. Nous tachons tous de 
seconder vos heureux travaux et ceux de votre illustre frere ; 
nous vous prions tous de recevoir vous nieme et de lui 
presenter nos respects. 

Remerciez le bien de la complaisance qu'il a eu de 
m'envoyer la rotation de 1'anneau dont j'etois bien curieux. 
Je suis autant d'attachement que de respect, Savante Miss, 
Votre tres humble et tres 

obeissant serviteur, 


Plusieurs de mes etoiles out servi a comparer votre 

* M. De la Lande's name was Jerome Le Francais dit de la Lande; it is to 
himself, therefore, that he here refers. The letter is addressed "Mile. Caroline 
Herschel, Astronome Celebre, Slough." 

CHAP, in.] Letters. 91 

comete qui a disparu le 30 juin, mais que M. Messier et 
M. Mechain ont suivis sans interruption, jusques dans le 

Je vous prie de demander les bontes de votre digne frere 
pour M. Ungeschick, qui est un astronome de merite, et qui 
a bien du zele, mais en vous voyant le zele augmentera. 


SLOUGH, Sept. I2tk, 1790. 


Our good friend, General Komavzewski, will persuade 
me to believe that I am capable of giving you pleasure by 
writing a few lines ; but I am under an apprehension that 
he is overrating my abilities. You, my dear sir, certainly 
overrated them when you thought me deserving of express- 
ing your esteem for me in so public a manner as the General 
and Mr. Ungeshick have informed me of. 

I do not only owe you my sincerest thanks for your good 
opinion of me, but my utmost endeavours shall be to make 
myself worthy of it if possible. My good brother has not 
been emissive in furnishing me with the means of becoming 
so in some respects. An excellent Newtonian sweeper, of 
five-feet focal length, is nearly completed, which, being 
mounted at the top of the house, will always be in readi- 
ness for observing whenever my attendance on the forty or 
twenty-foot telescopes is not required. 

I hope the little god-daughter is in good health, and wish 
she may grow and give happiness and pleasure to her parents 
and uncle. 

I beg to present many respectful compliments to the 
ingenious ladies you mentioned in your letter. 

Mrs. Herschel desires to be remembered to you, sir. We 
do not give up the hopes of seeing you again at Slough, 

92 Caroline Liicretia Herschel. [1791-1795. 

and are wishing it may not be long before you visit 
England again. 

I remain, dear sir, 

With greatest esteem, &c., &c., 

Another foreign correspondent was inspired to soar 
above the ordinary level of scientific communications, 
and addressed Miss Herschel in a strain of high-flown 
adulation, of which the following is a translation : 

GOTTINGEN, May 10, [about 1793.] 

Permit me, most revered lady, to bring to your remem- 
brance a man who has held you in the highest esteem ever 
since he had the good fortune to enter the Temple of 
Urania, at Slough, and to pay his respects to its priestess. 
I still recall the happy hours passed in England in earlier 
days of sweet remembrance, and above all, those which I 
was privileged to spend near you in a society as genial as it 
was intellectual. 

Give me leave, noble and worthy priestess of the new 
heavens, to lay at your feet my small offering on eclipses of 
the sun, and at the same time to express my gratitude and 
deepest reverence. The bearer is a young Mr. Johnston, 
who has been studying here, and is now returning to 
England. He is a young man of excellent character, and 
possessed of unusual capacity and attainments. 

May I venture to ask, most honoured Miss, that when 
you or your brother make any discovery, you will grant 
me early notice of it, as you once had the kindness to 
promise to do. You can hardly fail to make them at 
Slough, where every day is rich in discovery, especially 
when one of your own subjects the comets comes to offer 
its homage. 

CHAP, in.] Two more Comets discovered. 93 

How happy should I esteem myself if there were any 
service I could render you here, most admirable lady astro- 
nomer, that I might be permitted to prove how entirely my 
heart is devoted to you. 


The fifth comet was discovered December 15th, 
1791, and a simple record of the fact is all that the 
packet devoted to it contains, with the information, 
" My brother wrote an account of it to Sir J. Banks, 
Dr. Maskelyne, and to several astronomical corre- 
spondents." The discovery of the sixth is treated 
with equal brevity. " Oct. 7, at 8h. mean time. I 
discovered a comet, my brother settled its place on 
the 8th, and I wrote to Sir J. Banks, Dr. Maskelyne, 
and to Mr. Planta. The letter to Mr. Planta is printed 
in the Philosophical Transactions." 

None of the correspondence in connection with the 
seventh has been preserved, excepting her own letter 
announcing its discovery to Sir J. Banks. 


SLOUGH, Nov. 8, 1795. 


Last night, in sweeping over a part of the heavens 
with my five-foot reflector, I met with a telescopic comet. 
To point out its situation I transcribe^my brother's observa- 
tions of it from his journal. 


It will probably pass between the head of the Swan and 

94 Caroline Lucretia HerscheL [1795-1797. 

the constellation of the Lyre, in its descent towards the 

sun. The direction of its motion is retrograde.* 



As the appearance of one of these objects is almost be- 
come a novelty, I flatter myself that this intelligence will 
not be uninteresting to astronomers, and therefore hope, 
sir, you will, with your usual kindness, recommend it to 
their notice. 

I have the honour to be, 

With great respect, &c., &c., 


Two years later the eighth and last comet was 
discovered, on the 6th of August, 1797. It was the 
occasion of the following letter : 


August, 17, 1797. 


This is not a letter from an astronomer to the Presi- 
dent of the Koyal Society announcing a comet, but only a 
few lines from Caroline Herschel to a friend of her brother's, 
by way of apology for not sending intelligence of that kind 
immediately where they are due. 

I have so little faith in the expedition of messengers of all 
descriptions that I undertook to be my own, with an inten- 
tion of stopping in town and write and deliver a letter 

* This comet, since known as Encke's, in consequence of that great astro- 
nomer having determined its periodicity in 1819 and predicted its triennial 
return, was discovered, independently, four several times before its identity 
was recognized, Miss Herschel's observation of it in 1795 being the second in 
order of time. Additional interest has since attached to it, in consequence of 
its gradually diminishing period and the views hence suggested on the 
economy of the solar system. 

CHAP, in.] Ceases to reside with her Brother. 95 

myself, but unfortunately I undertook the task with only the 
preparation of one hour's sleep, and having in the course of 
five years never rode above two miles at a time, the twenty to 
London, and the idea of six or seven more to Greenwich in 
reserve, totally unfitted me for any action. Dr. Maskelyne 
was so kind as to take some pains to persuade me to go this 
morning to pay my respects to Sir Joseph, but I thought 
a woman who knows so little of the world ought not to aim 
at such an honour, but go home, where she ought to be, 
as soon as possible. 

The letter which you sent, sir, to my brother, was the onl}- 
one received at Slough in my absence; it arrived towards 
noon on the 16th, and was brought by a porter from an inn. 

I hope you will excuse the trouble I give by sending this, 
though I know it is entirely useless, because Dr. Maskelyne 
had probably my memorandum which I took to Greenwich 
with him when he called in Soho Square, and therefore I can 
say nothing but what you, sir, are acquainted with already ; 
but I shall be a little more comfortable when I can say to 
my brother I have written to Sir J. Banks concerning the 

With the utmost respect, 
I remain, sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 


We are now reduced to the short diary-like entries 
in a small book entitled " Extracts from a Day-Bool: 
kept during the years 1797 and 1821," which begins : 
"1797, in October I went to lodge and board with 
one of my brother's workmen (Sprat), whose wife was 
to attend on me. My telescopes on the roof, to which 

96 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1797-1798. 

I was to have occasional access, as also to the 
room with the sweeping and observing apparatus, 
remained in its former order, where I most days spent 
some hours in preparing work to go on with at my 
lodging." A chance memorandum shows how the 
leisure time was employed ; thus " At the ending of 
1787, or beginning of 1788, began to make use of 
some of the proof-sheets of Wollaston's Catalogue along 
with Flamsteed's ; " and again, " December 24th, 1797, 
received notice for printing the Index, which was not 
at all adapted for that purpose ; but March 8th, 1798, 
the copy was completed, and taken to the Eoyal 
Society, and in the course of the summer the print 
was corrected." The following letter to the Astrono- 
mer Royal bears on this subject : 


SLOUGH, Sept. 1798. 

I have for a long while past felt a desire of express- 
ing my thanks to you for having interested yourself so kindly 
for the little production of my industry by being the pro- 
moter of the printing of the Index to Flamsteed's Observa- 
tions. I thought the pains it had cost me were, and would 
be, sufficiently rewarded in the use it had already been, and 
might be in future, to my brother. But your having thought 
it worthy of the press has flattered my vanity not a little. 
You see, sir, I do own myself to be vain, because I would 
not wish to be singular ; and was there ever a woman with- 
out vanity ? or a man either ? only with this difference, that 
among gentlemen the commodity is generally styled ambition. 

CHAP, in.] Astronomical.. 9V 

I wish it were possible to offer something which could be 
of use to our Royal Astronomer than merely thanks. Per- 
haps the enclosed catalogue may be of some little service on 
some occasion or other. I was obliged to bring it into that 
form by way of scrutinizing the real number of omitted 
stars, and find it now very useful when my brother, in 
sweeping, &c., observes stars which are not contained in 
Wollaston's Catalogue, to know immediately by this order 
of R. A. if they are in any of Flamsteed's omitted stars, and 
if they are, what number they bear in the catalogue of 
omitted stars, which number we find in the first column. 
The rest of the columns will want no explanation, except 
the last, which would not be complete, or even intelligible, 
without the assistance of the catalogue of omitted stars, and 
the notes to that catalogue, for they are short memorandums 
collected from the descriptions in the catalogue, and from 
the notes to some of the stars. 

As our Index contains all the corrections and information 
which I possibly could collect, those corrections and memo- 
randums of which I had the pleasure, about eighteen months 
ago, to write a copy for Dr. Maskelyne, will consequently 
be laid aside, else I ought to take notice that there are one 
or two errors and several omissions which should have been 
corrected in that copy, but with which it will now be needless 
to trouble you, sir. 

"What has laid me under particular obligation to you, my 
dear sir, was your timely information, the August before 
last, of your having proposed the printing of the Index to 
the P. R. S. The papers were then in so incomplete a 
state, that it needed each moment which could possibly 
be spared from other business to deliver them with some 
confidence of their being pretty Correct. 

Many times do I think with pleasure and comfort on the 
friendly invitations Mrs. Maskelyne and yourself have given. 

.98 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1798. 

me to spend a few days at Greenwich. I hope yet to have 
that pleasure next spring or summer. This last has passed 
away, and I never thought myself well or in spirits enough 
to venture from home. If the heavens had befriended me, 
and afforded us a comet, I might, under its convoy, perhaps 
have ventured at an emigration. However, I cannot help 
thinking that I shall meet with some little reward for the 
denial it has been to me not coming this summer in seeing 
the improvements Miss Maskelyne has made (more per- 
ceptibly) in those accomplishments she seemed to be in so> 
fair a way of attaining when I was there last. 

With my best respects and compliments to Mrs. M., 
I remain, with the greatest esteem, 

Your most obliged and humble servant, 



May 29i/i and 3(M. "Was mostly spent at the Observatory, 
Professor Vince * being there. 

July 30i/t. My brother went with his family to Bath and 
Dawlish. I went daily to the Observatory and work-rooms 
to work, and returned home to my meals, and at night, 
except in fine weather, I spent some hours on the roof, and 

.was fetched home by Sprat. 

**** * 

September llth. Dined at my brother's. Professor Pictet 
and Dr. Ingenhouse, &c., were there. Cloudy night. 

October 7th. Finished the MS. Catalogue of omitted 
stars for Dr. Maskelyne. 


December 31st. Mem. Uncommonly harassed in conse- 
quence of the loss of time necessary for going backward and 
* The Eev. S. Vince, a mathematician and natural philosopher] 

CHAP, in.] Extracts from Day-book. 99 

forward, and not having immediate access to each book or 
paper at the moment when wanted. 

January 4th. Spent the evening at my brother's. Sir 
Wm. Watson * and Mr. Wilson t were there. 

February llth. My brother went to Bath to make some 
stay there, having taken a house on Sion Hill. 

February 26^. Mrs. Herschel, Miss Cobet, and the 
servants left Slough for Bath. Eussell, the horse-keeper, 
and his wife, were, along with me, left in charge of the 
house, from which I seldom was absent at any other time 
but to go to dinner at my lodging every day at one o'clock. 

March 29i/. The Prince of Orange stepped in to ask 
some questions about planets, &c.| 

LordKirkwall and a gentleman came to see the instruments. 

April 1st. My brother arrived at Slough, and on the 
llth he took a paper to the E. S., which he brought with 
him for me to copy in the clear. The fine nights were 
spent with sweeping. 

* Sir William Watson, M.D., Knight, F.R.S. from 1770 to 1800, when he 
resigned. He was one of the first members of the Astronomical Society at its 
foundation in 1821 under the Presidency of William Herschel. His father, 
also M. D. and Knight, was the eminent botanist and naturalist. He lived 
much at Dawlish, where the Herschel family frequently went to stay with 

f Alexander Wilson, M.D., professor of practical astronomy in the Uni- 
versity of Glasgow, and first propounder of that theory as to the cause and 
nature of the spots on the sun, which was afterwards fully corroborated and 
worked out by Sir W. Herschel. 

J The Prince's questions were sometimes of a very remarkable kind. On 
a previous occasion when he ' ' stept in " with a view to having them answered, 
and was not so fortunate as to find anyone at home, he left the following 
memorandum: "The Prince of Orange has been at Slough to call at Mr. 
Herschel's and to ask him, or if he was not at home to Miss Herschel, if it is 
true that Mr. Herschel has discovered a new star, whose light was not as that 
of the common stars, but with swallow tails, as stars in embroidery. He has 
seen this reported in the newspapers, and wishes to know if there is any 
foundation to that report. Slough, the 8th of August, 1798. W. Prince of 

u 2 

100 Caroline Lucretia, Herschel. [1799. 

May 14i/i. Was interrupted in works on account of the 

[Montem]. Was visited by Mrs. Owen, the Elds, Linds,* 
&c., at my lodgings, or wherever they could find nie. 

June. Began re-calculating all the sweeps as a constant 

work for leisure time. 


June 8th. My brother returned. I drank tea with him 

and Mrs. H., and at seven went home to my lodgings. 


July 15th. Agreed for apartments at Newby's, the tailor, 
in Slough (Mr. S. and Mrs. B. speaking well of them as 

sober, industrious people), I am to enter at Michaelmas. 


August 19th. I went to Greenwich to meet some com- 
pany at Dr. Maskelyne's, and after having spent a week at 
the E. Observatory, I went with Dr., Mrs., and Miss M. to 
pay a visit to Sir George Schuckburgh, at Buxted Place, 
where I left the MS. on the 30th, and arrived at Slough 
the 31st. 

It was so very rarely that Miss Herschel ever slept 
from home, that this visit was a memorable event in 
her experience. A small sheet, written by Miss Mas- 
kelyne, headed "Journal from the 19th to the 30th 
of August, 1 799," is preserved, with the superscription : 
" By Miss Maskelyne's memorandum only I found it 
possible to have any recollection of the occurrences 
during the eleven days I had intended to spend at 
Greenwich for the purpose of copying the memoran- 

* James Lind, M.D., was a Scotchman, who devoted a considerable amount 
of his time to astronomical observations. 

CHAP, in.] Extracts from Day -book. 101 

dums from my brother's second volume of Flamsteed's 
Observations into Dr. Maskelyne's volume. But the 
succession of amusements, &c., &c., left me no alter- 
native between contenting myself with one or two 
hours' sleep per night during the six days I was at 
Greenwich, or to go home without having fulfilled my 

The journal was enclosed in a letter from Mrs. 
Maskelyne, which bears pleasant testimony to the 
agreeable impression which her visitor must have 
made on the ladies, as well as the astronomer. 

BUXTED PLACE, August 30, 1799. 

We thank you for your polite message, are sorry you 
left Buxted at eight o'clock ; hoped you would have taken 
two dishes of coffee, and not gone till half-past eight, for 
we were up at seven, to be ready to accompany you to 

Margaret has sent the enclosed, and will be glad to hear 
if it is what you meant ; she was writing it when you 
stopped at the door, but did not venture to open it for fear 
of disturbing us. Present our compliments to Dr. and Mrs, 
Herschel. Pray let me know what sort of .a journey you 
have had to your dear sweeper, and accept our love. 
I am, dear Miss Herschel, 

Your humble servant, 


The following letter has reference to this visit, and 
is inserted here, although belonging to a somewhat 
later date : 

102 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1799-isoo. 


January, 1800. 


If it was not highly necessary to make you acquainted 
with the safe arrival of your valuable present at Slough, I 
might perhaps be a long while before I should think my- 
self sufficiently collected to express the grateful feelings the 
sight of it occasioned me. My being pleased at having two 
such useful and convenient instruments has but very little 
connection with my present ideas ; and if they had come 
to me from any other hands but those of the Astronomer 
Royal, I should use them as occasion required, and think 
myself much obliged to the giver. But as it is, I cannot 
help wishing I were capable of doing something to make my- 
self deserving of all these kind attentions. 

I feel gratified in particular when I think of the stipula- 
tion I was making when you were taking measure of the 
distance [apart] of my eyes : viz., that if you in future 
should change in opinion, and not think me worthy of the 
present, not to bestow it on me. 

Mrs. Maskelyne's good-natured looks, and all she said at 
the time, come now again to my remembrance, and seeing 
not only the binocular (which I had but a conditional expec- 
tation of receiving), but also the night-glass, makes me hope 
that during the time I had the honour of being in the 
company of such esteemed friends, I have suffered no loss 
in their former good opinion of me, which was a circum- 
stance I often feared might have happened ; for I have too 
little knowledge of the rules of society to trust much to my 
acquitting myself so as to give hope of having made any 
favourable impressions. 

You see, dear sir, that you have done me more good than 
you were perhaps aware of : j r ou have not only enabled me 

CHAP, in.] Letters. 103 

to peep at the heavens, but have put rne into good humour 
with myself. 

With my respectful compliments to Mrs. and Miss 

I remain, with many thanks, Dear sir, 

Your much obliged and humble servant, 


The following is from a friend who took the deepest 
interest in the career of both brother and sister : 



April 30, 1799. 


It is with much satisfaction that I received through 
the hands of Dr. Herschel, the valuable publication you 
are so kind as to send me, and which indeed is the more 
welcome as I have the volumes of the " Historia Ccelestis," 
and shall most probably have occasion to use them. Were 
Flamsteed alive, how cordially would he thank you for thus 
rendering the labours of his life so much more useful and 
acceptable to posterity, for he surely little thought that his 
great work required to be elucidated by an additional folio 
volume of explanations, errata, and indexes, the advantages 
of which, by their excellence and accuracy, must every day 
be more and more acknowledged, and future astronomers, as 
well as those of the present times will doubtless often be 
conscious of the merit and obligation you are entitled to. 
With many thanks, I remain, 

Dear madam, 
Your most obedient 


Dr. and Mrs. Herschel, whom I have occasionally the 

104 Caroline Liicretia Herschel. [1799-isoo. 

pleasure of seeing, though by no means so often as I could 
wish, are well, and desired to be mentioned to 3-011. 

August 31st. At six in the evening both my brothers 
arrived from Bath. Alexander gave me a call. 

September 8th. Professor Vince, his lady, and Alexander 
came to see me. 

October 18th. My brother returned from Bath, but with 
a violent cough and cold, and was obliged to go to Newbury 
for change of air and meet Mrs. H., who was there on a visit. 

November 19th. The bailiffs took possession of my land- 
lord's goods, and I found my property was not safe in my 

new habitation. 


December 31st. The king had been at the Observatory. 

February 1st. My brother went to Bath. 
Mem. Miss Baldwin [a niece of Mrs. Herschel's] and 
little John* frequently call on me. 

April 28^/i. My brother went to town for a fortnight. I 
was at the Observatory after he was gone, from ten till two, 
to select work for me to do at home. 

April 29i/i. From ten till three at the Observatory to- 
make order in the books and MSS. 

May 1st. Dined with Dr. Lind. Fetched my nephew 
from Mrs. Clark and brought him to his boarding-dame,. 
Mrs. Howard, at Eton. Worked every day some hours at 
the Observatory. 

* The only child of Dr. Herschel. He afterwards became Sir John Herschel. 
Miss Herschel was very proud as well as fond of him. He is " my nephew." 
Dr. Herschel is usually called "my brother," in distinction from all the rest 
of the family. 

CHAP, in.] Extracts from Diary. 105 

May 26^/i. I went to take leave of my nephew, who 
entered at Dr. Gretton's School. 

* *- * * * 

June 23r<Z. Paid my rent, and gave notice of quitting my 
apartments at Michaelmas. 

June 25^/i. Began to pack up what I must take to Bath 
with me, for there I am to go ! 

June 29i/i. I dined with Mrs. H. and went with her to- 
the Terrace, where I took leave of my friends at the Lodge. 
Everything was arranged for my hooks and furniture to 
remain at my lodging, to which my brother was to keep the 
keys. But on receiving information they would be seized 
along with my landlord's goods by bailiffs, I prepared the 
same night for their removal, and all was safely lodged in a 
garret at Mrs. H.'s by July 2 at night. 

July 3nZ. I left Slough by the nine o'clock Newbury 
coach, and remained with the Miss Whites [at Newbury] till 
next morning. 

July 4th. At six in the evening I was received at Batli 
by my brother Alex, and his old housekeeper in a house Mrs. 
H. had taken for the next winter in Little Stanhope Street. 
The house had been uninhabited, and the furniture moved 
into it from the house on Sion Hill by strangers, labourers ; 
the things met me helter-skelter in the passage, some 
belonging to the drawing-room amongst curiy-combs and 
bridles and other stable utensils. My first care was to make 
an inventory of the whole, before I let a stranger come inta 
the house, but by the 10th of July I hired a maid of all 
work to assist me to bring the house into habitable ordeiv 
and by July 29th I was ready for resuming the work of re* 
calculating sweeps, or despatching some copying, &c., which 
was sent me by the coach from Slough, and from the 
printer in London, my brother being with his family at 
Tunbridge Wells. 

106 Caroline Lucretia HerscheL [isoo. 

Sept. Wth. I received a box from Slough. My brother 
-was come home, and Alex, went to assist in re-polishing the 
forty-foot mirror, and left Bath Sept. 15 ; he returned 

Oct. 2nd. Some of my time during his absence I spent at 
his house on Margaret's Hill to clean and repair his furni- 
ture, and making his habitation comfortable against his return. 

Oct. 29th. I received notice that in about a fortnight I 
should be wanted at Slough. 


LONDON, JYbir. 7, 1800. 

Last night my paper on which I have been so long at 
work was read at the society. I came to London to bring 
it, and have been so hurried as not to be able to look out 
any work for you, but shall now be at liberty to do some- 
thing of that kind. My things here are in considerable dis- 
order, and in a short time Mrs. Herschel and nryself wish to 
ome for a little time to Bath, then we will let you know if 
it's soon, that you may come here on a visit before we go, 
that I may point out to you the work that is most necessary 
to be done in our short absence. I thought it best to give 
you this early notice, because, though we have not fixed upon 
the time, it will be towards the latter end of this month that 
we mean to come for perhaps a fortnight or three weeks, 
according to the weather ; for, if that should be fine we shall 
return, that I may have a few sweeps before you go back to 
Bath. Miss Baldwin is at Slough, and stays while we are 
awa} r , so that you will have company, and the chaise will 
also be left, so that you can pay visits at Windsor, and show 
yourself to all your friends and ours. 

My last paper consisted of eighty pages, so that you will 
have a piece of work to gather it together out of the scraps 
I leave. Some part of it was brought together in the 

CUAP. in.] Extracts from Diary. 107 

beginning by Miss Baldwin and Mrs. Hersckel which will 
show the order, but the rest remains in bits, which I have 

gathered together and numbered 

Remember me to our good brother Alexander, and, with 
compliments from Mrs. Herschel, 

I remain, dear sister, 

Your affectionate brother, 


P.S. The bacon and cheese are very excellent. I have 
not had time to try Alexander's green lenses; they look 

Nov. 14th. I left Bath, slept the night at the inn at New- 
buiy, and left there between three and four. 

Nov. 15th. I arrived at my brother's house, and as soon 
as I had dined began to calculate and copy a paper which 
was to go to the R.S. 

Nov. 24i/i. My brother went with Mrs. H. and Miss 
Baldwin to Bath, the keys to Obs., &c., were given me to 
make order and for despatching memorandums which would 
have employed me for much longer time than it was likely I 
should be allowed for doing them to my own satisfaction. 

Dec. 15th. The family returned, my brother extremely ill, 
and the next day I had my furniture transported to Windsor, 
where I had taken a couple of rooms to board and lodge 
with my eldest nephew, G. Griesbach, and 

Dec. 17th. I slept there for the first night. 

March 28^/i. The MSS. and astronomical books in general 
were removed out of the observatory above stairs and lodged 
in my brother's library. This alteration proved to be an 
additional clog to nay business (which besides was daily in- 
creasing on me) for 1 lost by this means my workroom and 
found it very difficult to keep the necessaiy order among the 
MSS. ***** 

108 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [isoo-isoi. 

April 20th. Moved from Windsor to a small liouse at 
Chalvy, rented from Mr. House, the wood-cutter. 

June 9th. My brother went to Bath; by the 25th he 
was returned. 

July 1st. Alexander came from Bath. 

July 2Qth. I went to Slough to take (along with Alex.) 
care of the house whilst my brother, with his family, were 

from home. 


February 20th. The first time Mrs. Beckedorff's name 
being mentioned in my memorandums as having dined with 
her, and the whole party leaving the dining-room on the 
Princesses Augusta, Amelia, and the Duke of Cambridge 
coming in to see me. 

March 2nd. I went with Mrs. H. and Miss Baldwin to 
town on a visit to Dr. and Miss Wilson, and went with a 
party to F. Griesbach's concert at the Opera House. The 
4th we returned. 

April 7th. I shut my house at Chalvy, and went with 
my maid to Slough, the latter to supply the place of the 
servants Mrs. H. took with her to town. 

May Qth. My brother went to take a paper to the K. S., 
and remained there till the 15th. 

May 26th. I returned home to Chalvy very ill with a 
bad leg, having waited too long before I called in assistance. 

June 27th. The carriage was sent to take me to Slough. 
Hitherto work had been daily sent me. 

July 13th. My brother, Mrs. H., my nephew John, and 
Miss Baldwin left Slough to go to Paris. 

August 25th. All returned with my nephew danger- 

* Mrs. Beckedorff was "the sweet little girl of ten or eleven years old " 
with whom Miss Herschel had exchanged pleasant greetings when they were 
both taking lessons in dressmaking from Madame Klister, in Hanover, thirty- 
five years before. (See p. 22.) 

CHAP, in.] Extracts from Diary. 109 

ously ill. Going daily for some hours to work at the 
Observatory, and to receive visitors and letters, had not 
hastened my recovery, for it required no less than seven 
months before I could be without the attendance of Dr. Pope. 

March 25/t. I moved from Chalvy to Upton. 

April 3rd. Spent the day at Slough. Dr. and Miss 
Wilson, Miss Whites, and Professor Johnes, from Cam- 
bridge, were there. 

April 12/&. Had an account of my sister Griesbach's 
death. She died March 30th. 

May 1st. From the 1st till the 18th I worked with my 
brother at Slough, when he went to town, and I returned to 
Upton ; but went daily to the library to work till the 26th, 
when my brother, with his family, came home from town. 

June 13i/i. Alexander arrived from Bath. 

June 2,5th. Spent a melancholy day at the Queen's 
Lodge on account of the French having taken Hanover. 

September ~L8tJi. My brother Alex, returned to Bath. 

October 18th. I changed my rooms for the accommoda- 
tion of Mr. and Mrs. Slaughter, who had taken the house 
and gardens at Upton, excepting two rooms for my habitation. 

November 6th. I spent the day at Slough. Professor 
Valis,* with his lady, from Mario w, was there. 

November 19th. I dined at Slough to meet Dr., Mrs., 
and Miss Maskelyne. 

December. Almost throughout the whole month I worked 
at Slough from breakfast till nine in the evening. 

March 16th. Finished re-calculating sweeps. 

Mem. Above 8,760 observations have been brought to 
[the year] 1800. 

A23ril4tli. Dined at Slough to meet Mrs. Bates and a 
large party. In the evening we heard Mrs. B. sing Mad 
Bess, &c., &c. 

* Probably Professor Wales, mathematical master at Christ's Hospital, 
author of a mathematical paper published in the " Phil. Trans.," 1781. 

110 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [isoi-1805. 

April 18th. I went to Slough. My brother went, with 
his family, to Bath. 

May 10th. My brother returned. 

August 5th. My brother Alexander came from Bath. 

* * * * * 


November 22fZ. I went to make some stay at Slough 
during the time my brother spent in town with his family. 

December 10th. I returned to Upton. 

January 14th. I went, with my brother's family, to a 
morning concert, to my nephew, H. Griesbach, to hear the 

Hanoverian Concert-Meister Le Vec play. 


March 5th. Went to make some stay with my brother at 
Slough, Mrs. H. being in town. 

March Z7th. All returned, and I went with my work to 
Upton again. 

August 14th. I went to stay with Alex, at Slough while 
my eldest brother went with his family from home. They 
had intended to have left Slough on the 12th, but were 

detained in consequence of a report of an expected invasion. 


In September was much hindered in my work by the 
packing of the Spanish telescope, which was done at the 
bam and rick-yard at Upton, my room being all the while 
filled with the optical apparatus. 

September 24i/i. I went to work with my brother at Slough. 

October 1st. When Mrs. H., with her niece, returned 
from Newbury, I went again to Upton. The Spanish 
telescope left England in October.* 

November 13th. I went to Slough, the family to town; 

* The cost of this fine instrument, which had been ordered by the King of 

CHAP, in.] Extracts from Diary. Ill 

but, in the absence of the moon, my brother was at home,, 
and much observing, and work was despatched. 

December 1st. All came home, and I went to my solitude 
again.* During the winter months I suffered much from a 
violent cough and cold, and found great difficulty in des- 
patching the copying, &c., which daily was sent to me when 

I was unable to go to my brother. 


May 1st. I went to Slough to make some stay with my 


July 4th. My brother went to Gravesend to meet my 
youngest brother (who came to pay us a visit), and was 
detained there for a passport. 

July 6th. In the evening they both arrived at Slough. 

July Wth. Alexander joined us from Bath The 

same day my eldest brother went to the visitation of the 
Observatory at Greenwich, and my brother D. accompanied 
him. They returned on the 12th. 

July 13th. We went all to the Terrace, and took our tea 
with Mrs. Bremeyer and Mr. Beckedorff at the Castle. 

July 23rd. Dietrich took leave of his friends at Cumber- 
land Lodge. Alex, and I accompanied him. In "Windsor 
I went shopping to buy presents for my Hanoverian relations. 

Spain as long before as January, 1796, was 3150. The Prince of Cauino paid 
2310 for a ten and a seven-foot telescope from the same indefatigable hands. 
But although the pecuniary profit was great, it is not surprising that Miss. 
Herschel should bemoan the "making and selling of telescopes " as unworthy 
of the enormous amount of time and labour which must be withdrawn from 
the study of astronomy ; and it is evident that the fatigue and exhaustion 
from polishing mirrors told seriously upon Sir William's health. 

* A characteristic little note from her brother belongs to this time : " Lina, 
Last night I ' popt ' upon a comet. It is visible to the naked eye, between 
Fomalhout and & Ceti, but above the line that joins the two stars. It made an 
equilateral triangle (downwards) with 100 and 107 Aquarii. I wrote last 
night to Sir J. Banks and write now also to Dr. Maskelyne. Adieu. 

Dec. 9, 1805." 

112 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [isos-isoe- 

July 24/i. D. left us. My eldest brother and Mrs. H. 
accompanied him to London. 


August 1st. I left Upton for Slough. My brother went 
with Mrs. H. and Miss B. on an excursion. My nephew went 
to spend the holidays at Newbury, at the Miss Whites. 
One man and a woman were left with me to take care of the 
house. I distracted my thoughts by undertaking an amaz- 
ing deal of work ; among the rest, I made catalogues of all 
books and MSS. my brother's library contained, and ar- 
ranged them, to the best of my knowledge, according to 
what the confined room would allow. 

September 8th. My brother and family returned, and I 
went with my works to Upton. Dr. and Miss Wilson were 
at Slough from September 22nd to September 30th. 

Mem. During September, and the early part of October, 
many days were spent at Slough in assisting my brother 
when, the 40-foot mirror was re-polishing. 

December ZStli. I went to see Mrs. Bremeyer, but found 
she had died ten hours before my arrival at the Castle. 

January 15th. My brother went to Bath to see his 
brother and Sir "Win. Watson. 

January 24i/t, 5th, and 6th. I spent with my friends at 
Windsor. My brother returned with a violent cough, added 
to a nervous headache which it had been hoped would, by 
change of air, have been removed. My brother brought the 
place of a comet announced in the papers with him. I had 
also heard of it at the Castle, and saw it on the 27th at 
Upton. Next day I had my sweeper carried to Slough, but 
the nights of the 28th, 29th, and 30th were not clear enough, 
and I could not find it again till the 31st, when my brother 
began his observations on it 

CHAP, in.] Extracts from Diary. 113 

May 2nd. I left Upton for Slough, to work with ray 
brother. Mrs. H. being in town till 

June 18tk. Spent the day at Slough, Mr. and Mrs. Watt 
being there on a visit, and a large party to dinner. 

Aug. 13th. I went with Mrs. H. and rny nephew to 
pay a visit to our friends at Cumberland Lodge. My 
brother, again finding it necessary to recruit his strength 
by absenting himself for a few days from his work-rooms, 
had left Slough for Ttmbridge Wells just the day before, 
and at our return we found the Duke of Kent, with the 
Dukes of Orleans, &c., waiting for us, and my nephew 
[ffitat. 15] and nryself showed them Jupiter, the Moon, &c., 
in the seven-foot. 

Awj. 29f/i. I dined at the Castle. The Queen and 
Princess Elizabeth honoured me with kind enquiries after 
the health of my brother, c. The Princesses Augusta and 
Mary also came to see me in Miss Beckedorffs room. On 
coming home the next day, I found my brother had arrived 
the day before. 

Sept. 22nd. In taking the forty-foot mirror out of the 
tube, the beam to which the tackle is fixed broke in the 
middle, but fortunately not before it w r as nearly lowered 
into its carriage, &c., &c. Both my brothers had a narrow 

escape of being crushed to death. 



Oct. 1st. Received an account and letters announcing a 

Oct. 2nd. Saw the comet, visible to the naked eye. 

Oct. 4th. My brother came from Brighton. The same 
night two parties from the Castle came to see the comet, 
and during the whole month my brother had not an evening 
to himself. As he was then in the midst of polishing the 
forty-foot mirror, rest became absolutely necessary after a 

114 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [isoe-iso;. 

day spent in that most laborious work ; and it lias ever been 
niy opinion that on the 14th of October his nerves received 
a shock of which he never got the better afterwards ; for on 
that day (in particular) he had hardly dismissed his troop 
of men, when visitors assembled, and from the time it was 
dark till past midnight he was on the grass-plot surrounded 
by between fifty and sixty persons, without having had time 
for putting on proper clothing, or for the least nourishment 
passing his lips. Among the company I remember were 
the Duke of Sussex, Prince Galitzin, Lord Darnley, a num- 
ber of officers, Admiral Boston, and some ladies. 

Nov. 3rd. I came home to Upton (Mrs. H. returned from 
Brighton), but went most days to assist my brother in the 
polishing-rooni or library, and from the 10th December to 
the 22nd I was entirely at Slough going on as above unin- 
terruptedly, Mrs. Herschel being with my nephew, and Miss 
Baldwin at Newbury with the Miss Whites. 

Jan. Many days at work in the library and workrooms 
assisting my brother. 

Feb. 3rd. When at work in the library the Duke of 
Cambridge came in. We were obliged to a storm for his 
visit, as he came in for the shelter. 

Feb. 6th. When I came to Slough to assist my brother 
in polishing the forty-foot mirror, I found my nephew very 
ill with an inflammatory sore throat and fever. 

Feb. 9th. Still very ill ; and my brother obliged to go 
on with the polishing of the great mirror, as every arrange- 
ment had been made for that purpose. Mem. I believe ray 
brother had reason for choosing the cold season for this 
laborious work, the exertion of which alone must put any 
man into a fever if he were ever so strong. 

Feb. 10th. From this day my nephew's health kept on 

CHAP, in.] Extracts from Diary. 115 

Feb. 19th. My nephew mending, but my brother not 

Feb. 26/i. My brother so ill that I was not allowed to 
see him, and till March 8 his life was despaired of, and by 

Mar. 10th. I was permitted to see him, but only for two 
or three minutes, for he is not allowed to speak. 

Mar. 22?itZ. He went for the first time into his library, 
but could only remain for a few moments. 

April 7th. I went to stay at Slough, my brother going 
by short stages to Bath, Mrs. H., my nephew, and Miss 
Baldwin with him. 

May 9th. My brother returned, nearly recovered, but 
with a violent cold and cough caught on the journey. 
, May Z4th. I went to Slough to be with my brother till 
the 31st. In fine nights observing ; working in the day- 
time, and writing a paper on comets, filled up the time, 
though neither my brother nor myself were well. 

June 7th. "Was the Montem, of course much company. 

June 13th. I dined at the Castle to meet Lady and Miss 

Banks, Mr. De Luc,* &c. 


July 1st. Alexander arrived at Slough. Mem. We 
received very distressing accounts from our brother at 

July 21st till 26f/i. My brother was absent, and I was 
daily at work in the library. 

Sept. 5th. Alexander returned to Bath, leaving his bro- 
ther far from well. The laborious exertions required for 
the polishing of the forty -foot mirror, besides the overlook- 
ing and directing the workmen out of doors, who were at 
work on the repairs of the apparatus, during the month of 
August, had again proved too much for him. 

* De Luc was a geologist of high reputation ; an ardent opponent of Hut- 
tonian views. 

I 2 

116 Caroline Lucretia Herschd. [1809. 

Oct. 4th. I went to Slough ; my brother, Mrs. H., my 
nephew, and his cousin, went to Brighton. My brother 
was absent about a week, during which time I worked as 
long as I could see in the library, and spent the evenings in 
booking observations, &c., and such works as could be done 
within doors. 

Nov. %nd. My brother went to town, endeavouring to 
gain some information about my brother Dietrich, who, ac- 
cording to a message from a merchant in town, ought to 
have by this time been in England. 

Nov. 6th. A letter from Harwich arrived informing us 
that D. was waiting there for a passport. 

Nov. 7th. D. arrived at Slough, but was obliged to 
return for his trunk and to show himself at the alien office, 
and I did not see him till the evening of the 9th. 

Dec. 19?/t. Dietrich left Slough for lodgings in Pimlico, 
London. Came with Fr. Griesbach the day before Christ- 
mas Day, and returned to town the 26th. 

Mem. From the hour of Dietrich's arrival in England 
till that of his departure, which was not till nearly four 
years after, I had not a day's respite from accumulated 
trouble and anxiety, for he came ruined in health, spirit, 
and fortune, and, according to the old Hanoverian custom, 
I was the only one from Avhorn all domestic comforts were 
expected. I hope I have acquitted myself to everybody's 
satisfaction, for I never neglected my eldest brother's busi- 
ness, and the time I bestowed on Dietrich was taken en- 
tirely from my sleep or from what is generally allowed for 
meals, which were mostly taken running, or sometimes for- 
gotten entirely. But why think of it noAV ! 

Jan. Throughout the whole month I had a cough, my 
nephew a sore throat and fever. Great flood and stormy 
weather. The communication between Slough and Upton 
was very troublesome to me. 

CHAP, in.] Extracts from Diary. 117 

Jan. IBtJi. I spent the day at Slough. Dietrich came 
for the evening to assist at a concert. I was shocked to 
see him so much worse, but I was obliged to see him return 
to town the next morning with Fr. Griesbach. I was pre- 
vented by my own illness and the severity of the weather 
from going to see him in town, and 

Feb. 5th. I sprained my ankle in coming home in the 
evening from Slough, by attempting to walk through the 
snow in pattens, and my brother was obliged to send me 
work to Upton, for it was not till a fortnight after, that I 
could walk again, and I felt the effects of the accident for 
above three months after. 

Mar. 9th. I went to Slough to work with my brother. 
His family were from home. Much work was done during 
the time, but the polishing the forty-foot was interrupted 
on the 24th by the hot weather. 

Oct. Znd. Alex left Slough. I was very ill, and had Dr. 
Pope to attend me. 

Oct. 9tk. Dismissed Pope and went to Dr. Phips. 

Oct. 17/i. My nephew weni, to Cambridge. His mother 
and Miss Baldwin remained in lodgings at Cambridge. 

Nov. 20f/. Phips pronounced me out of danger from 
becoming blind, which he ought to have done much sooner, 
or rather not to have put me unnecessarily under such 
dreadful apprehension. 

Dec. 6th. Dietrich went to London for the winter. 


DIARY continued 1810. 


April 29?/z. My nephew took leave of ine, returning to 

May 4th. I went to Slough, rny brother going to town 
with Mrs. H. He returned after a short stay, and I re- 
mained with him till Mrs. H. came home again. Some of 
niy last clays of staying at Slough I spent in papering and 
painting the rooms I was to occupy in a small house of nry 
brother's attached to the Crown Inn, to which I removed. 

July IWi. I went to remain at my brother's house du- 
ring the time he, with Mrs. H. and Miss Baldwin, went to 



Sept. 18th. My brother and the family returned, and 
Dietrich came to Slough, a room being prepared for him 

in my cottage. 


Dec. 1st. Dietrich went to town to enter on his winter 





















from, a .Dram ing by .Lcuiy G-prrf<>n, 


CHAP, iv.] Extracts from Diary. 119 

July 22cZ. My brother with his family left Slough on a 
tour to Edinburgh and Glasgow. I went to his house till 
they returned, Sept. 18th. 

Aug. Qth. Dietrich came to Slough, and I left him to 

the care of Mrs. Cock, at my habitation. 


* * - * * * 


May llth. I went to be with my brother ; Mrs. H. went 
to town for a month. 

June 1st. Dietrich came to Slough, disengaged from all 
business in town to spend the last few weeks he was to 
be in England with us. 

June IZth. Mrs. H. returned from town, and I went 
home to look to the necessary preparations for Dietrich's 
precarious (sic) journey he was obliged to make through 

June 2,7th. My eldest brother went to Oxford, came 
back the 30th, and Alexander arrived the same day from 

July 8th. Dietrich left us ; Alex accompanied him to 

July 14th. Dietrich left Harwich, and at the end of the 
month we received a letter dated Gottenburg, July 18, and 
so far we knew that he was safe, but of receiving any further 
account we had not the least prospect, for all communica- 
tion, with Hanover in particular, was cut off. 

Sept. Mrs. Goltermann came to see me, and took a bed 
at my cottage, I being left alone at my brother's house. 
The family were at Dawlish with Sir William Watson. 

Oct. 5th. My nephew left Slough for Cambridge, with 
intention of not returning till his studies were ended at 
the University. The latter end of September Mr. Goiter- 

120 Caroline Lucretia HerscheL 

inann received a few lines which came open through France 
to him, dated September 4, showing that a letter of August 
15th had been lost, and that at Helsinfors Dietrich had been 
robbed of his pocketbook when under examination ; to this 
accident we were indebted for knowing that he was got 
home, as he was obliged to write for a duplicate bill of 
exchange ; such letters were, though unsealed, allowed to 
pass through France. 

1813. The three last months of the preceding year I 
spent mostly in solitude at home, except when I was wanted 

to assist my brother at night or in his library. 


Jan. 25th. Congratulatory letters arrived from Cam- 
bridge on my nephew's having obtained the Senior 
Wranglership. He was then contending for another prize, 
which a few days after he also obtained, so that from the 
time he entered the University till his leaving he had gained 
all the first prizes without exception. 

March 5th. Miss S. White, with her maid Sally (one of 
my nephew's nurses), came to be present at my nephew's 
twenty-first birthday. 

March 7th and 8th. I joined the company who dined 
there on this occasion, and I must not forget that my nephew 
presented me with a very handsome necklace, which I after- 
wards sent to my niece Groskopf, when a bride, and I being 

too old for wearing such ornaments. 


March 17th. My nephew went again to Cambridge to 
offer himself as candidate for a fellowship, there being three 
vacant, and at the conclusion of the examination he ob- 
tained the first choice of the three. 

March 25th. I went to be with my brother. Mrs. 

CHAP, iv.] Extracts from Diary, 121 

/ Herscliel and Miss Baldwin followed my nephew to Cam- 
bridge to assist him in settling his occasional residence there. 

May 3rd. I intended to pay a long-promised visit to Mrs. 
Goltermann, but found my brother too busy with putting 
the forty-foot mirror in the tube, the carriage having broke 
down between the polishing-rooni and the tube. Therefore 
I postponed my journey till I was sure I should not be 
wanted at home. 

May 10th. I went to London, and met with a friendly 
reception at Mrs. Goltermann's. 

May llth. I went with Mrs. G. and a Mrs. Kramer to 
Kensington. I remained with Miss Wilson whilst they paid 
a charitable visit to the two ladies attendant on the Duchess 
of Brunswick, who were left in a very distressed situation 
by the death of their mistress. 

The evening we spent at Buckingham House with Mrs. 

May IZtli. The forenoon and early part of the afternoon 
were spent in shopping and visiting, the evening again at 
Buckingham House, where I just arrived as the Queen and 
Princesses Elizabeth and Mary, and the Princess Sophia 
Mathilda of Gloucester, were ready to step into their chairs 
going to Caiiton House, full dressed for a fete, and meeting 
me and Mrs. Goltermann in the hall, they stopped for near 
ten minutes, making each in their turn the kindest enquiries 
how I liked London, &c., &c. 

On entering Mrs. BeckedoriTs room I found Madame 
D'Arblay (Miss Biirney), and we spent a very pleasant 

May 15th. I went to the Exhibition ; the evening at 
Baron Best's, where I met the Beckedorffs. On my return 
home I found a letter from my brother with Sir William 

122 Caroline Litcretia Herschel. [isu. 

Watson's direction that I might give them the meeting in 
town. The next morning I spent a few hours with them, 
and next day Sir William, with Lady Watson and Miss Jay, 
called on me in Charles Street. Baron Best also called 
and brought me the place of a comet from the " Hamburger 

May 18th. I went home and found a great deal of work 
prepared for me. The evening was spent in sweeping for 
the comet, but I could not find it, the weather was not 

June 14th. I returned to continue my works in the day- 
time at my own rooms, and the fine evenings assisting my 
brother when observing, but we were much interrupted by 
Mrs. H. being seriously ill. She was confined to her room 
and bed from the 25th of June till the 8th of August before 
perfectly recovered. 

July 24th. Alexander arrived at Slough to spend the 
summer and work with his brother. 


Nov. 13th. I had a call from Miss Joanna Baillie. 

Nov. 29//t. Mr. Rehberg brought the first letter from our 
brother Dietrich, dated November 10th, which, though still 
written with great caution, gave us, after a lapse of sixteen 
months, the assurance that he and his family were living. 

Dec. 4th. I met Madame D'Arblay and Mr. Rehberg, 
&c., at the Castle. 

Jan. 1st. My nephew, John Herschel, brought me, for a 
New Year's present, a new publication by him. 

Mem. The winter was uncommonly severe. My brother 
suffering from indisposition, and I, for my part, felt I should 
never be anything else but an invalid for life, but which I 

CHAP, iv.] Extracts from Diary. 123 

very carefully kept to myself, as I wished to be useful tojmy 
brother as long as possibly I could 

Feb. 7th. I was obliged to move to a small cottage in 
Slough, at a considerable distance from my brother. I 
began to move, and slept there for the first night, the 22nd. 

April 1st. My brother went to Bath to see his brother and 
Sir William Watson. His cough still very bad, and the 
12th, when he came home, we learned that he had been 
taken very ill on the road and suffered much when at Bath. 
It was not till many weeks after, when the warm weather 
came on, that he felt relieved. A few days after his return 
from Bath, we received notice by a message from the Queen of 
the Duchess of Oldenburg's intention of coming to see my 
brother's instruments. Everything was put in readiness for 
either a morning or evening visit, but the weather being 
very bad, the visit was put off till the arrival of the 

May 4th. I went to be with my brother. Mr. H. and Miss 
B. went to meet my nephew in town, who was keeping a 
term in the Temple, where he had commenced to be a 

student for the law in February. 


June Wth. My brother, being about this time engaged 
with re-polishing the forty-foot mirror, it required some time 
to restore order in his rooms before any strangers could be 
shown into them, and I again was assisting him to prepare 
for the reception of the Emperor Alexander and the Duchess 
of Oldenburg, &c., as they were at Windsor for Ascot Races. 
But we might have saved ourselves the trouble, for they 

were sufficiently harassed with public sights and festivities. 


Sept. 13th. During the time I was with my brother I saw 
among the visitors, &c., General P., who informed us of 
General Komarzewsky's death, and on my expressing a 

124 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [isis-16. 

hope it might not be true, le General said he had buried 
him himself at Paris, and had erected to him a little monu- 
ment as long as seven years ago. 

Sept. 20th. I came to my home again, ' but under the 
greatest concern at being obliged to leave my brother with- 
out my little help. But I have since been with him every 
morning till he told me he should leave off. His strength 
is now, and has for the last two or three years not been 
equal to the labour required for polishing forty-foot mirrors. 
And it was only by little excursions and absence from his 
workrooms, he for some time recovered from the effects of 

Nov. 15th. I went to work with my brother, which chiefly 
consisted of calculations and constructing new tables for the 
Georgian satellites, &c., &c. 

Nov. 29i/i. Mrs. H. returned, and I continued calculat- 
ing and copying at home. 


Aug. llth. Alexander left Slough, my eldest brother with 
him, going on to Dawlish to recruit his strength again. His 
declining health had a sad effect on Alexander's spirits, and 
I was in continual fear of the consequences ; for nothing but 
the thoughts of the 3 T early meeting had till now kept up his 
spirits. From what is yet to follow, it will be seen that 
our next meeting was not only the last, but a very distress- 
ing one. 

Sept. llth. I went to be with my brother, and remained 
with him till the 12th of October. The first fortnight of 
my being with him he was not able to do anything which 
required strength. 

Jan. 2nd. I was obliged to attend at Slough by eight 

CHAP, iv.] Extracts from Diary. 125 

o'clock, to be present when the Archdukes John and Louis 
of Austria visited my brother and his instruments. 

Jan. 9th. My nephew received a diploma of being Member 
of the University of Gottingen. The packet brought very 
satisfactory letters from our brother at Hanover. 

Feb. 4th. My brother sent the carriage to fetch me home 
[from the Castle], and I was desired to write to our brother 
Alexander at Bath, from whom, a most melancholy letter 
had that morning arrived, acquainting us with his being 
confined to his bed, having received an injury to his knee. 

April 5tJi. My brother received the Royal Hanoverian 
Guelphic Order. 

May 12?/i. My brother went to town to prepare for going 
to a levee at the Regent's next Tuesday. He brought me 

the keys to the library for going there to work. 


June 17th. I went to my brother's house, and was left in 
the deepest concern for his health. He went with his family 
to Cambridge. [Alexander was to make a journey to Han- 

Sept. Slid. I saw Alexander led by Captain Stevens on 
board .... of whom I had the assurance that he would 
see Alexander safe to Dietrich's friend, Mr. Munter, in 
Bremen. A few hours after I left the place [Wapping], 
taking with me receipts from everybody with whom I had 
had occasion to keep accounts. I came very ill to Mrs. 
Goltermann's, where I remained a week under her care. 

Sept. 9tli. I went home. 


Sept. 23?'<i. We were at a fete the Queen gave at Frog- 
more. I was obliged to return with my brother soon after 
he had been noticed by and conversed with the Queen and 
Regent, being too feeble to be long in company. 

Sept. 26f/i. We had letters from Hanover to acquaint us 

126 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. 

with Alexander's arrival in improved health, after a pleasant 
journey both by sea and land. 

October, Nov., Dec. Nothing particular happened, my 
nephew remaining at home working with his father, and I 
took the opportunity of working on my MS. Catalogue at 
those tunes when I was left without employment. 

March 27th. I spend the day at my brother's, Sir Robert 
and Lady Liston being there on a visit before their return 
to Constantinople. 

May 10th. I met Sir William and Lady Watson at 
dinner at my brother's, but was grieved to see the sad 
change in Sir William's health and spirits, and felt my only 
friend and adviser was lost to me. 


June 9th. All the family came home. I returned to my 
house with astronomical work to finish. 

June 14th. Spent the day at Lady Herschel's to meet 
Mrs. and Miss Maskelyne. 

July IQth and llth. Spent at my brother's, the mornings 
at work in the library the evenings with the company. . . . 

July 14th. I spent with Mrs. Beckedorff and brought 
tickets of invitation to a fete at Frogmore, for our family, 
with me ; where we all went on the 17th of July ; but almost 
as soon as the Royal party sat down to dinner I was obliged 
to go home with my brother, after having twice been 
honoured by the notice and conversation of the Queen 
and Regent, &c., &c. He found himself too feeble to 
remain in company. It was said that there were above 
two thousand persons invited. 


Nov. 7th. Prepared for going into mourning for the 

CHAP, iv.j Extracts from Diary. 127 

Princess Charlotte. Mrs. De Luc died a few days after or 
before the Princess. 

Feb. llf/i. I went to niy brother, and remained with 
him till the 23rd. We spent our time, though not in 
idleness, in sorrow and sadness. He is not only unwell but 
low in spirits. 

April 13^/i. Princess Elizabeth of Hesse Homburg and 
the Prince of Hesse Homburg came to see my brother and 

his instruments. They were attended by Count O , 

Baron K , and Baron G . The latter being 

well informed in the science of astronomy. 

Mem. I lost my attendants, the C.'s, at the latter end of 
April, and a waste of my time was the consequence, for I 
never after met with anyone who was deserving of my 

June 8th. The Prince and Princess Schaumburg von der 
Lippe, attended by Fraulein U., came to see my brother. 
Their behaviour to him was truly kind and affectionate on 
leaving him, with a hope to see him in the same place in 
the garden at the foot of the forty-foot telescope five or six 

years hence, when they should come to England again. 


June 25th. From this day to July 8th I was with my 
brother. The family at Newbury ; he being so far well 
that without interruption, I was supplied with copying as he 

July IQth. I went to my brother's, to be present in the 
evening when the Archduke Michael of Russia, with a 
numerous attendance, came to see Jupiter, &c. 

July 21st. 

Mem. Began to copy the numbering of stars from my 
brother's 2nd volume of Flamsteed's Observations into one of 
my own, having succeeded to procure all the three volumes 
c omplete at the price of four guineas. 

128 Caroline Lncretia Herschel. [isis. 

Aug. 8th. I spent tlie afternoon with my brother, who 
found himself very unwell, but with the assistance of my 
nephew, he had the pleasure of showing the Princess Sophia 
of Gloucester (who came in the evening accompanied by 
the Archbishop of Canterbury and several lords and ladies) 
many objects in the ten-foot telescope. 

Aug. 18th. I went to my brother's, his family left 
home for Brighton, where he intended to follow as soon as 
the repairs of the forty-foot should be finished ; but he was. 
all the time too ill for being anywhere but at home. The 
first evening we were alone, the Princess Sophia came to see 
the moon. She was accompanied by Lady Mary Paulet, 
another lady, and some gentlemen. After their departure, 
my brother seemed much pleased with the intelligent en- 
quiries made by the Princess ; but with much concern I saw 
that he had exerted himself too much above his strength. 

Aug. %5th. I was obliged to leave my brother for a few 
hours to call on the Princess Sophia Matilda, who desired 
to see me. 

Sept. 8th. I spent some hours with the Princess at 
the Castle. 

Oct. 14^/i. The Ertz Herzog Maximilian of Austria 
came to see nay brother, charged with messages from his 
mother to both my brother and myself, we having had the 
honour of seeing her Imperial Highness at Slough, in 1786, 
when on a visit to the King, with her husband the Arch- 
duke of Milan. 

Nov. 12f/i. I spent some hours in the forenoon with 
the Princess at the Castle. I left her with a promise of 
coming soon again, but it was to be my last visit for a long 
time to come, for .... 

Nov. Yltli. The Queen died. The 3rd of December 

CHAP, iv.] Extracts from Diary. 129 

the Princess returned my books with a kind note, and on 
the 4th she left Windsor. 

Dec. 5th, Qth, 7th. I spent in Windsor to see Mrs. 
and Miss Beckedorff at short intervals. Miss Wilson, Miss 
S. White, Miss Baldwin, Mr. Beckwith (Miss B.'s bride- 
groom) were visitors for several days at Slough, to see the 

funeral of the Queen. 


Dec. 16th. My brother went to town, to sit for his 
portrait by Mr. Artaud. 

Feb. 3rd. My brother went to town. The 4th I re- 
ceived a note from Mrs. Beckedorff, desiring me to spend 
the next and last day with her, but I went immediately and 
took (as I then thought) my last leave of both mother and 
daughter, for I could not leave my brother on his return on 
the 5th to be received only by the servants, as he went from 
home very unwell with a cold. 

Feb. 7th. My nephew arrived in town, and on the 12th 
all came home and I returned to my habitation. 

Feb. 28th. I heard of the death of Mrs. Beckedorff's 
daughter, at Hanover. My brother consented to my going 
next morning to London, and before two o'clock, after I had 
procured a lodging in Pimlico, I was with the poor mourners 
at Buckingham House, and remained till March 4th, when 
I left them, hoping they would be able to leave England on 
the 9th. 

March llth. Was Miss Baldwin's wedding-day, which I 
spent at Slough, with the family. 

April 2nd. My brother left Slough, accompanied by 
Lady H. for Bath, he being very unwell, and the constant 
complaint of giddiness in the head so much increased, that 
they were obliged to be four nights on the road both going 
and coming. 

The last moments before he stepped into the carriage 

130 Caroline Lucretia, Herschel. [1819-1820. 

were spent in walking with me through his library and 
workrooms, pointing with anxious looks to every shelf and 
drawer, desiring me to examine all and to make memoran- 
dums of them as well as T could. He was hardly able to 
support himself, and his spirits were so low, that I found 
difficulty in commanding my voice so far as to give him the 
assurance he should find on his return that my time had not 
been misspent. 

When I was left alone I found that I had no easy task to 
perform, for there were packets of writings to be examined 
which had not been looked at for the last forty years. But 
I did not pass a single day without working in the library as 
long as I could read a letter without candlelight, and taking 
with me papers to copy, &c., &c., which employed me for best 
part of the night, and thus I was enabled to give my brother 
a clear account of what had been done at his return. 

May 1st. But he returned home much worse than he 

went, and for several days hardly noticed my handiworks. 


June 21st. I went with my brother to town. He was to 
sit to Mr. Artaud. We remained till Friday, whilst Lady 
Herschel entertained the Wilson family at home, who were 
attending the funeral of Miss Wilson at Upton. 

July 8th. We thought my brother was dying. On the 
9th he was persuaded to be blooded in the arm which some- 
thing relieved him. 

Aug. I0th. My brother and Lady H. took me with 
them to town. 

Aug. Iltli. We went to the Bank and did what was 
thought necessary. 

Aug. 12t/i. I went with Lady H. to see my brother's 
portrait, and ordered a copy for myself. 

Aug. 25th. 

Mem. The 13th we came home, and one day passes like 

CHAP, iv.j Extracts from Diary. 131 

the other. I have much to do and can do but little beyond 
going daily to my brother, and often we are both unable to 
look about business. The present hot weather bears hard 
on enfeebled constitutions. Thermometer most days above 
80 degrees. 

Oct. 15th. I went to my brother, his family being in town. 

Oct. 29th. I returned to my home. 

A small slip of yellow paper, containing the follow- 
ing lines, traced by a tremulously feeble hand, belongs 
to this year : 

" LINA, There is a great comet. I want you to assist 
me. Come to dine and spend the day here. If you can 
come soon after one o'clock we shall have time to prepare 
maps and telescopes. I saw its situation last night it has 
a long tail." 

July 4th, 1819. 

Then follows : 

" I keep this as a relic ! Every line now traced by the 
hand of my dear brother becomes a treasure to me. 


The next year opens, as so many previous ones have 
done. The bare facts of the steadily narrowing life 
being set down with the same brevity and unswerving 
attention to the one object. The family was in much 
anxiety on account of the failing health of Mrs. Beck- 
with, the niece of Lady Herschel, of whom, as Miss 
Baldwin, frequent mention has been made. The spring 
and summer were passed in taking the sufferer to dif- 

E 2 

132 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1819-1821. 

ferent places in the country, but she was sinking in a 
rapid decline, and died in the autumn. 

Nov. Wth. The remains of Mrs. Beckwith were 
brought to Upton to be buried, and to me was left the 
melancholy task of keeping up my poor brother's spirits on 
such a melancholy occasion, when at the same time my 
own were at their lowest ebb, and being besides much 
molested about this time by the rejoicing of an unruly 
mob at the acquittal (as they called it) of the Princess of 

From the 26th to 29th I was with my brother. 

March. We lost our brother Alexander, who died at 



May 22nd. Again with my brother. My chief care was 
to see that my brother was not fatigued by too many visitors, 
and reading to him to prevent his sleeping too much. 


The volume ends in October : 1821. 

" Here closed my Day-book, for one day passed like 

* The following notice is from a Bristol paper : 

"Died, March 15th,1821, atHanover, Alexander Herschel, Esq., well-known 
to the public of Bath and Bristol as a performer and elegant musician ; and, 
who for forty-seven years was the admiration of the frequenters of concerts and 
theatres of both those cities, as principal violoncello. 

"To the extraordinary merits of Mr. Herschel was united considerable ac- 
quirement in the superior branches of mechanics and philosophy, and his 
affinity to his brother, Sir William Herschel, the illustrous astronomer, was 
not less in science than blood. To a large circle of professional friends the 
uniform gentlemanly manners of Mr. Herschel have rendered him at once an 
object of their wannest regard and respect." Alexander Herschel returned to 
Hanover in September, 1816, and was enabled to live in comfortable inde- 
pendence until his death at the age of seventy-six, through the never failing, 
generosity of his elder brother. 

CHAP, iv.] Death of Sir William Herschel. 133 

another, except that I, from my daily calls, returned to my 
solitary and cheerless home with increased anxiety for each 
following day." 

On the 25th of August, 1822, Sir William Herschel 
died in his house at Slough. 

A small book, containing a very few pages, entitled 
" Memorandum from 1823 to," &c., gives the sad 
history of the last days of that long life of indefatig- 
able toil over which the devoted sister had watched so 
long with untiring love. It would be easy, and per- 
haps in some respects preferable,- to tell the story 
without the details, but it would be at the cost of 
much that is characteristic and illustrative of the 
nature which has thus far been unfolded from within, 
and it is the last chapter of her life which she thought 
worth recalling to memory and committing to paper. 
The terrible blow of the death of her brother seems 
to have deprived her of all power or desire to do or to 
will anything beyond the one stern, dogged resolve to 
leave England for ever as soon as the beloved remains 
were buried from her sight. Six months after her 
return to Hanover she thus prefaced this last and most 
pathetic of her Recollections : 

HANOVER, April 15th, 1823. 

"Eighteen months have elapsed since I could acquire 
fortitude enough for noting down in my Day-book any of 
those heartrending occurrences I witnessed during the 
last nine months of the fifty years I have lived in England, 
and I cannot hope that ever a time will come when I shall 
be able to dwell on any one of those interesting but melan- 

134 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1822. 

choly hours I spent with the dearest and best of brothers. 
But if I was to leave off making memorandums of such 
events as either affect or are interesting to me, I should 
feel like what I am, viz., a person that has nothing more to- 
do in this world. 

"But to regain the thread of my narration, it is necessary 
to take notice of the vacancy between the present date and 
the ending of the year 1821, and the only way in which I 
can possibly fill up this vacancy must be to take a few dates 
with memorandums marked in my almanac and account 
books for the year 1822, without making any comments on 
what my feelings and situation must have been throughout 
that whole interval. 

"By some letters I wrote during the first four months of 
1822 to my brother here at Hanover, I [see that I was 
employed in copying from the Philosophical Transactions 
the first twelve papers of my brother's publications. The 
time required for this purpose I could only obtain by 
making use of most of the hours which are generally 
allotted to rest, as during the day my time was spent in 
endeavours to support my dear brother in his painful 
decline. And besides, the hope that we might continue yet 
a little longer together began to forsake me, for my own 
health and spirits were in that state that I was in daily 
expectation of going before.* Therefore each moment of 
separation from my dear brother I spent in endeavours to 
arrange my affairs so that my nephew, J. Herschel, as the 
executor of my will, might have as little trouble as possible. 

* Although Miss Herschel was endowed by nature with a fine healthy con- 
stitution, she suffered much in various ways during the last twenty-five years- 
of her life ; and there is little doubt that her health was injured, to a consi- 
derable extent, by the excessive fatigue and serious accidents to which she was 
exposed in her earlier days, when she often denied herself rest that was impe- 
ratively needed, in order to be at hand when her brother required her 

CHAP, iv.] Recollections written at Hanover. 135 

[A letter of eighteen pages would have been found along 
with a will, if I had (as I then daily expected) died before my 
brother. After the sad events of the succeeding two years, 
I thought it necessary to destroy both the will and the 
letter.] My thoughts were continually divided between my 
brother's library, from Avhich I was now on the point of being 
severed for ever, and my own unfinished work at home 
endeavouring to bring by degrees all into its proper place." 

DIARY (continued) . 

May 13th. Lady Herschel and my nephew went to town : 
I was left with my brother alone, but was counting every 
hour till I should see them again, for I was momentarily 
afraid of his dying in their absence. 

May 20$. * * * * 

The summer proved very hot ; my brother's feeble nerves 
were very much affected, and there being in general much 
company, added to the difficulty of choosing the most airy 
rooms for his retirement. 

July 8th. I had a dawn of hope that my brother might 
regain once more a little strength, for I have a memo- 
randum in my almanac of his walking with a firmer step 
than usual above three or four times the distance from the 
dwelling-house to the library, in order to gather and eat 
raspberries, in his garden, with me. But I never saw the 
like again. 

The latter end of July I was seized by a bilious fever, 
and I could for several days only rise for a few hours to go 
to my brother about the time he was used to see me. But 
one day I was entirely confined to my bed, which alarmed 
Lady Herschel and the family on my brother's account. 
Miss Baldwin* called and found me in despair about my 
own confused affairs, which I never had had time to bring 

* A younger sister of Mrs. Beckwith, niece of Lady Herschel. 

136 Caroline L^lcretia, Herschel. [1822-1823. 

into any order. The next day she brought my nephew to 
me, who promised to fulfil all my wishes which I should 
have expressed on paper ; he begged me not to exert myself 
for his father's sake, of whom he believed it would be the 

immediate death if anything should happen to me * 

Of my dear nephew's advice I could not avail myself, for I 
knew that at that time he had weighty concerns on his mind. 
And, besides, my whole life almost has passed awa} r in the 
delusion that next to my eldest brother, none but Dietrich 
was capable of giving me advice where to leave my few relics, 
consisting of a few books and my sweeper. And for the 
last twenty years I kept to the resolution of never opening 
my lips to my dear brother William about worldly or 
serious concerns, let me be ever so much at a loss for 
knowing right from wrong. And so it has happened that at 
the time when I was stupefied by grief at seeing the death 
of my dear brother, I gave myself, Avith all I was worth, up 
to my brother Dietrich and his family, and from that time 
till the death of D. I found great difficulty to remain 
mistress of my own actions and opinions. In respect to the 
latter we never could agree. And this it was which 
prompted me to send Flamsteed's works to Gottingen (I 
would rather have kept them till now) for fear they might be 
offered for sale. Having about this time received very dis- 
tressing accounts of family misfortunes from my brother at 
Hanover, I could find no rest on his account till I should 
have made my 500 stock over to him, but this required my 
presence at the bank, and I could not think of leaving 
Slough till my brother should be engaged for some days 
with his family previous to the departure of my nephew, 
who was going to accompany a friend abroad. And besides, 
I knew that my absence would then be scarcely perceived, 

* This passage is a later note, added Sept. 26, 1828. 

CHAP, iv.] Recollections written at Hanover. 137 

as a very sensible elderly lady (Mrs. Monson) would be 
there on a visit. 

Aug. 8th. I went, and at six o'clock in the afternoon of 
the 10th I was home again. My nephew had left Slough 
the same morning. 

I found my brother seated by the ladies, but so languid 
that I thought it necessary to take a seemingly unconcerned 
leave for the night. 

Aug. Hth, 12/i, 13^/i, and 14th I went as usual to spend 
some hours of the forenoon with my brother. 

Aug. 15th. I hastened to the spot where I was wont 
to find him with the newspaper which I was to read to him. 
But instead I found Mrs. Morson, Miss Baldwin, and Mr. 
Bulman, from Leeds, the grandson of my brother's earliest 
acquaintance in this country. I was informed my brother 
had been obliged to return to his room, whither I flew 
immediately. Lady H. and the housekeeper were with him, 
administering everything which could be thought of for 
supporting him. I found him much irritated at not being 
able to grant Mr. Bulman's request for some token of 
remembrance for his father. As soon as he saw me, I 
was sent to the library to fetch one of his last papers and a 
plate of the forty-feet telescope. But for the universe I 
could not have looked twice at what I had snatched from the 
shelf, and when he faintly asked if the breaking up of 
the Milky Way was in it, I said " Yes," and he looked con- 
tent. I cannot help remembering this circumstance, it 
was the last time I was sent to the library on such an 
occasion. That the anxious care for his papers and 
workrooms never ended but with his life was proved by 
his frequent whispered inquiries if they were locked and the 
key safe, of which I took care to assure him that they were, 
and the key in Lady Herschel's hands. 

After half an hour's vain attempt to support himself, 

138 . Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1822. 

my brother was obliged to consent to be put to bed, 
leaving no hope ever to see him rise again. For ten 
days and nights we remained in the most heartrending 
situation till the 25th of August, when not one comfort was 
left to me but that of retiring to the chamber of death, 
there to ruminate without interruption on my isolated 
situation. Of this last solace I was robbed on the 7th 
September, when the dear remains were consigned to the 

Sept. 9th. I returned to my house and began select- 
ing the books and clothing I should want to take with me 
to Hanover, where I thought it best to go with the Michael- 
mas messenger. 

Sept. 27th. I had disposed of nry furniture, partly by 
presents and partly by sale ; and after settling with my 
landlord, &c., I left my house for Lady Herschel's, to remain 
there till business should call her and my nephew to town. 

Oct. 3rd. My friends as well as myself were made easy 
by the arrival of my brother Dietrich, who came to fetch 

Oct. 7th. I took leave of Princess Augusta and all my 
friends and connections in Windsor. 

Oct. Wth. At 9 in the morning I left Slough with my 
brother D. Lady H. and my nephew followed the next 



Oct. 14th. Princess Sophia Mathilda sent her carriage 
for me to spend the day with her at Blackheath. 

Oct. 16th. I went with my brother to Mortlake to take 
leave of Baron Best and family; and thence we directly 
proceeded to Bedford Place, where all my friends were as- 
sembled, among whom I had the comfort of seeing once more 
my nephew's friend, and the favourite of my dear departed 
brother, Mr. Babbage. He had only that day arrived from 

CHAP, iv.] Recollections written at Hanover. 139 

the North. I could find no opportunity for any conver- 
sation with him, but just by a pressure of the hand 
recommended my nephew in incoherent whispers to the 
continuance of his regards and friendship. 

From all these sorrowing friends and connections I was 
obliged to take an everlasting leave, and in the few hours 
we were for the last time together, I was obliged to sign 
many papers, among which was a receipt for a half year's 
legacy I signed this with great reluctance .... but Lady 
H. and my nephew insisted on my taking it, according to my 
brother's will. This unexpected sum has enabled me to 
furnish myself with many conveniences on my arrival here, 
of which otherwise I should have perhaps debarred myself. 

Oct. 17th. In the morning we left our lodging for an 
inn near the Tower. Mr. Beckwith joined us, and settled 
at the Custom House for our baggage. My nephew came 
for a moment to us, and after his departure I saw no one 
I knew or who cared for me. 

Oct. 18th. At ten o'clock we went on board of the steam 

Oct. 20th. At noon we landed after a stormy passage 
at Rotterdam. 

Oct. 21st. At daybreak we began to proceed on our way, 

Oct. 28th. We arrived at the habitation of my brother, 
in Hanover. 

A note, dated September 29th, 1828, apologizes to 
her nephew for troubling him with the above and 
other papers, adding : 

I have destroyed my Day-book, but hi doing so I was 
tempted to extract some dates which I thought might still 
be interesting to me, and bring the past once more to my 

140 Caroline Lucretia HerscJicl. [1822. 

recollection ; but as that would only be a drawback to the 
satisfaction I almost daily may enjoy by hearing of the fame 
of my dear nephew, it is best to remove all that can bring 
the past to my recollection. 

The letters which follow are the only documents 
from which any particulars can be drawn for this and 
many following years. No Day-book or note-book of 
any kind appears to have been kept, or at any rate 
preserved, from the time of the return to Hanover 
in October, 1822, until the year 1833. 



As we close the record of Miss Herschel's residence 
in England, we may pause for a moment to look back 
over the space she had traversed while following, with 
unvarying diligence and humility, the path her brother 
marked out for her, first in blessed hourly companion- 
ship, when she was as necessary in his home as in his 
library, or among his instruments ; and latterly, when 
with saddened heart but unflagging determination she 
continued to work for him, but saw his domestic 
happiness pass into other keeping. 

While they toiled together through those first ten 
years of ever-deepening interest and marvellous acti- 
vity, during which the rapid juxtaposition of mirror- 
grinding, concerts, oratorios, music lessons,* and fre- 
quent papers written for philosophical societies, almost 
takes the breath away as we read, the brother had 
" abundant opportunity of learning how far he could 
trust to his companion's readiness, as well as capability, 

* At this time W. Herschel frequently gave- thirty-five and thirty-eight 
lessons a week to lady pupils. 

142 Caroline Lucretia, Herschel. [1S22. 

to accept of duties as utterly remote from all that her 
previous life had prepared her for as if he had asked 
her to accompany him on a pilgrimage to Mecca. 
And thus, of all of whom he had made trial, it was 
not the brilliant Jacob, nor the gifted Alexander, but 
the little quiet, home-bred Caroline, of whom nothing 
had been expected but to be up early and to do the 
work of the house, and to devote her leisure to knitting 
and sewing, in whom he found that steady devotion 
to a fixed purpose which he felt it was possible 
to link with his own. "I did nothing for my 
brother," she said, " but what a well-trained puppy- 
dog would have done : that is to say, I did what he 
commanded me. I was a mere tool which he had the 
trouble of sharpening." Such was always her own 
modest self-estimate. It is hardly too much to say 
that, to have worked as she had worked, and to have 
done all that she had accomplished, and to claim no 
more than the credit due to passive obedience to 
orders, is a depth of humility of that rare and noble 
kind which is in itself a form of greatness. It must 
not be forgotten, that the progress of astronomical 
science since Sir William Herschel's great reflector 
startled the world, has not been greater than has 
been the change, both in opinion and practice, on 
the subject of female employments and education. 
The appointment of a young woman as an as- 
sistant astronomer, with a regular salary for her 

CHAP, v.] Retrospection. 143 

services, was an unprecedented occurrence in England. 
She had watched and shared in every effort and 
every failure from the first seven-foot telescope to 
the construction of the ponderous machinery that 
was to support the mighty tube of which she herself 
made the first crude model in pasteboard. When, 
finally, her brother was summoned to the King, and 
wrote to tell her how he fared at Court, she accepted 
the decision, by which he exchanged a handsome in- 
come for the sake of obtaining the command of his own 
time, and 200 a-year from his gracious sovereign, 
with only a passing expression of regret from the 
housekeeper's point of view, and threw herself heart 
and soul into the new life at Datchet. One all-sufficing 
reward sweetened her labours " I had the comfort to 
see that my brother was satisfied with my endeavours 
in assisting him." When the dignity of original 
discovery gave her a distinct and separate claim to 
the respect of the astronomical world, she must 
have found out that she was something better 
than a mere tool. The requisite knowledge of 
algebra and mathematical formulae for calculations and 
reductions she had to gather when and how she could : 
chiefly at breakfast, and at any odd moments when 
her brother could be asked questions, and the answers 
were carefully entered in her Commonplace Book, 
where examples of taking equal altitudes, and how to 
convert sidereal time into mean time, follow upon 

144 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1822. 

pages of problems, oblique plain triangles, right-angled 
spherical triangles, how to find the logarithm of a num- 
ber given, and theorems for making tables of motion. 
With this slender store of attainment she accomplished 
a vast amount of valuable work, besides the regular 
duties of assistant to so indefatigable an observer as 
Sir William Herschel. He was invariably accustomed 
to carry on his telescopic observations till daybreak, 
circumstances permitting, without any regard to season ; 
it was the business of his assistant to note the clocks 
and to write down the observations from his dicta- 
tion as they were made. Subsequently she assisted in 
the laborious numerical calculations and reductions, so 
that it was only during his absences from home, or 
when any other interruption of his regular course of 
observation occurred, that she was able to devote 
herself to the Newtonian sweeper, which she used 
to such good purpose. Besides the eight comets by 
her discovered, she detected several remarkable 
nebulae and clusters of stars previously unnoticed, 
especially the superb nebula known as No. 1, 
Class V., in Sir William Herschel's Catalogue. Long 
practice taught her to make light of her work. 
"An observer at your twenty-foot when sweeping," 
she wrote many years after, "wants nothing 
but a being who can and will execute his com- 
mands with the quickness of lightning ; for you will 
have seen that in many sweeps six or twice six objects 

CHAP, v.] Retrospection. 145 

have been secured and described in one minute of 

The ten years from 1788 to 1798, although a blank 
as regards her personal history the Recollections 
cease with her brother's marriage were among the 
busiest of her life, and in the year last men- 
tioned the Royal Society published two of her works, 
namely, "A Catalogue of 860 Stars observed by 
Flamsteed, but not included in the British Cata- 
logue," and " A General Index of Reference to every 
Observation of every Star in the above-mentioned 
British Catalogue." It is in reference to these that 
she wrote the very interesting letter to the Astronomer 
Royal, which is given among others, in its place, in 
the Journal. But another work, which was not 
published, was the most valuable, as it was the most 
laborious of all her undertakings. This was " The 
Reduction and Arrangement in the form of a Cata- 
logue, in Zones, of all the Star-clusters and Nebulae 
observed by Sir W. Herschel in his Sweeps." It sup- 
plied the needful data for Sir John Herschel when he 
undertook the review of the nebulae of the northern 
hemisphere ; and it was for this that the Gold Medal 
of the Royal Astronomical Society was voted to her 
in 1828, followed by the extraordinary distinction of 
an Honorary Membership. This Catalogue was not 
completed until after her return to Hanover, and Sir 
David Brewster wrote of it as " a work of immense 

146 Caroline Lucretia HerschcL 11222. 

labour," and " an extraordinary monument of the 
unextinguished ardour of a lady of seventy-five in 
the cause of abstract science." 

Although the Recollections cease in 1788, there 
are some volumes recording the nature and results 
of her nightly " sweepings," which Miss Herschel 
kept very regularly, and, as an unique example of 
a lady's journal, a few of the entries may be of in- 

1788. Sept. 9th. My brother showed me the five satel- 
lites of Saturn. He made me take notice of a star, which 

made a double star last night with the fifth satellite. 


DcC. 8th. I swept for a comet which was announced 
in the papers as having been discovered the 26th of Novem- 
ber by Mr. Messier. According to the observations of that 
date, it should have been within a few degrees of the 
Pole star (by my brother's calculation), but though I swept 
with great attention a space of at least ten or twelve 
degrees all around the pole over repeatedly, I could find 

Another night of unavailing search, with thermometer 

1790. Jan. 7th. I have swept all this evening for my 
[third] comet in vain. My brother showed me the G. Sidus 
in the twenty-foot telescope, and I saw both its satellites 
very plainly. 

1791. Aug. 2nd. I began to sweep at 1.30, from the 

* It was not an unknown circumstance for the ink to freeze while she was 
attending to take down her brother's observations. 

CHAP, v.] Her Sweepings. 147 

horizon through the Pleiades up as high as the head of 
Medusa. Left off with /3 Tauri. Afterwards I continued 
with horizontal sweeps till daylight was too strong for see- 
ing any longer. 

1792. May 3rd. My brother having desired me by way 
of practice to settle the stars a Persei and Castor, and a Vir- 
ginis, by some neighbouring stars in Wollaston's Catalogue, 
I made last night an attempt to take their places. The 
moon was near the full, therefore no sweeping could be 

1795. May 1st. Mem. In the future when any great 
chasms appear in my journals, it may be understood that 
sweeping for comets has not been neglected at every op- 
portunity which did offer itself. But as I always do 
sweep according to the precept my brother has given me, 
and as I often am in want of time, I think it is very im- 
material if the places where I have seen nothing are noted 

Nov. 7th. 0.40 sidereal time. About an hour ago I 
saw the comet [seventh] which is marked in the annexed 
field of view [diagrams drawn with extreme neatness illus- 
trate the entries when necessary]. When I perceived it 
first the two small stars were entirely covered by it, and it 
appeared to be a cluster of stars mixed with nebulosity ; 
but not knowing of such an object in that place, I kept 
watching it, and perceived it to be a comet by its having 
moved from the two small stars, so as to leave them en- 
tirely free from haziness. 

1797. Aug. 14th. C. H.'s comet. At 9.30 common 
time, being dark enough for sweeping, I began in the usual 
manner with looking over the heavens with the naked eye, 
and immediately saw a comet nearly as bright as that which 
was discovered by Mr. Gregor} r , January 8, 1793. I went 
down from the observatory to call my brother Alexander, 

L 2 

148 Caroline Lucretia HerscheL [1822. 

that he might assist me at the clock. In my way into the 
garden I was met and detained by Lord S. and another 
gentleman, who came to see my brother and his telescopes. 
By way of preventing too long an interruption, I told the 
gentlemen that I had just found a cornet, and wanted to 
settle its place. I pointed it out to them, and after having 
seen it they took their leave. 

These entries were continued with great regularity 
to the year 1819, at which time, as the Diary shows, 
Sir William's increasing feebleness made her close 
daily attendance more necessary, and her pen was in 
greater request than the " sweeper." The last volume 
concludes with a carefully drawn eye-draft of the 
situation of a comet visible at Hanover, January 31st, 
1824. Thenceforth the instrument which had done 
such good service in her hands for forty years of 
steady work, became the chief ornament of her sitting- 
room, until her disquieting fears for its ultimate fate 
led her to send it back to England. 

Sad as is the story of those last years of declining 
old age, while the beloved brother lived we know that 
his sister's life was full of occupation. It is not until 
the cruel hour comes, and she knows that death and the 

grave will soon claim him, that she allows the sense of 

her own bitter desolation to find expression. When all 
was over, her only desire seems to have been to hurry 
away. Hardly was he laid in his grave than she col- 
lected the few things she cared to keep, and left for 
ever the country where she had spent fifty years of her 

CHAP, v.] Retrospection. 149 

life, living and toiling for him and him only. " If I 
should leave off making memorandums oi such events 
as affect, or are interesting to me, I should feel like 
what I am, namely, a person that has nothing more 
to do in this world." Mournful words : doubly mourn- 
ful when we know that the writer had nearly half an 
ordinary lifetime still between her and that grave which 
she made haste to prepare, in the hope that her course 
was nearly run. Who can think of her, at the age of 
seventy-two, heart-broken and desolate, going back to 
the home of her youth in the fond expectation of find- 
ing consolation, without a pang of sympathetic pity ? 
She found everything changed. In addition to those 
changes, for which she might have been in some measure 
prepared, there were others of a kind to admit of neither 
cure nor alleviation. The life she had led for fifty 
years had removed her, she little guessed how much, 
from the old familiar paths : her thoughts, her habits, 
all her ideas had been formed and moulded in a totally 
different world : more bitter still, she found herself 
alone in her great sorrow and quenchless love ; pride 
in the distinction reflected on themselves from rela- 
tionship to the illustrious astronomer was a miser- 
able substitute for the reverential affection she had 
looked to find for one of the kindest and most generous 
of brothers. But the bitterest suffering of all was 
from a source which was, and ever remained, beyond 
the reach of help. " You don't know," wrote one of 

150 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1822. 

Miss Edgeworth's sisters, "the blank of life after 
having lived within the radiance of genius ; " and 
this was the blank in which Miss Herschel doomed 
herself not only to live, but to try to begin anew, 
when past three score and ten. The extracts from 
her letters bear strong testimony to the gallant struggle 
she made to find interests and occupations in what 
those about her, as well as she herself, looked upon as 
a kind of exile, and "Why did I leave happy Eng- 
land ? " was often her cry, more especially as time 
went on, and interest in her nephew and his family 
came mercifully to fill the heart still so yearning and 
ready for affection. When she heard the news of Sir 
John Herschel's intended departure for the Cape, she 
wrote, " Ja ! if I was thirty or forty years junger and 
could go too ? in Gottes nahmen ! " her interest in 
the science to which she had devoted her best years 
never ceased, though she persisted to the end in ridi- 
culing the bare suggestion that the Rosse telescope 
could by any possibility be so good as the, forty-foot. 
The homage paid to her as a savante amused as well 
as gratified her. " You must give me leave to send 
you any publication you can think of," she wrote to 
her nephew, "without mentioning anything about 
paying for them. For it is necessary I should every 
now and then lay out a little of my spare cash in 
that for the sake of supporting the reputation of being 
a learned lady (there is for you !), for I am not only 

CHAP, v.] Retrospection. 151 

looked at for such a one, but even stared at here in 
Hanover!" Her deprecation of the membership of 
the Irish Academy, conferred on one who for so 
many years had " not even discovered a comet," was 
thoroughly sincere as well as characteristic, but she 
found pleasure in receiving the homage which was 
naturally paid to her; no man of any scientific 
eminence passed through Hanover without visiting 
her ; * and it became a matter of public concern to 
note the presence of the well-known tiny figure at the 
Theatre, where her constant appearance in extreme 
old age was in itself a marvel. The frugal simplicity 
of her habits made it a positive perplexity to dispose 
of her income ; she protested that 50 a-year was all 
she could manage to spend on herself, and she per- 
tinaciously resisted receiving the pension of 100 
per annum left to" her by her brother, often de- 
voting the quarterly or half-yearly payment to the 
purchase of some handsome present for her nephew or 
niece. She wrote full instructions and made the 
most careful arrangements for every detail of business 
in connection with her own burial and the disposal of 
her property that is of the little she reserved, for her 
generosity towards her relations was as great as the 
expenditure on herself was small. 

In these last remarks I have anticipated events, and 

* From the Royal Family she received the most kind and graceful at- 

152 Caroline Liicretia Herschel. [1822. 

must now return to the year 1822, when the corre- 
spondence begins. 


ROTTERDAM, Monday, Oct. 21, 1822. 

At this present moment I have nothing to wish for, 
besides the means of convincing myself by one look of your 
and my dear nephew's health. After a very troublesome 
passage of forty-eight hours, we find ourselves almost re- 
stored to our former condition and composure, with only the 
difference that we have no more hunting after our trunks 
from Custom-house to Custom-house, and can proceed on 
our way to Hanover in peace after one night's rest here in 
a very good inn. But the last night was truly dismal, for 
the sailors themselves confessed that it was what is called a 
high sea. At one time a spray conveyed a bucket-full of 
water into my bed, which was regarded as nothing in com- 
parison to the evils with which I was surrounded. I was 
the most sick of all on board, and the poor old lady was 
pitied by all who enquired after her, but I had four ladies 
in the same cabin with me, who encouraged me to hold out, 
which at one time I thought would have been impossible. 
Something happened to the vessel for want of a good pilot 
in the Thames, and at Blackwall we laid still three hours, 
then we hobbled on to near Gravesend, and there lay in a 
high sea at anchor all night, whilst they were hatching 
and thumping to mend the vessel we were to go in. In 
consequence of this, we could not reach the spot where a 
pilot could meet us time enough on Sunday evening, and 
lay again at anchor. At half past eleven I set foot on 
shore, where so many people were assembled to gaze on us 
that it set me a crying, and now I am glad to be shut up 
once more in a room by myself and where I can make proper 

CHAP, v.j Journey to Hanover. 153 

preparations for travelling further, which hitherto I have 
not had the opportunity of doing. All my clothes which I 
had prepared for the ship or sleeping on the road were 
locked up at the Custom-house, and I could not get hold of 
them again till we entered this house. So much for our 
adventures at present, and I beg and hope you will soon and 
often let us know how you are with my nephew, and how 
and where you can pass the following winter months in the 
most comfortable way. 

My brother is gone into the street to look about him. 
The weather is fine, and I wish my dear nephew was with 
him, for it looks very tempting and new all about me, and I 
think he would enjoy seeing the bustle on the water with 
which this house is surrounded. My brother has charged 
me with millions of compliments and thanks to yourself and 
our nephew, but I cannot afford him quite so many, as else 
there would be no room for all those I owe to my dear Lady 
H. and my nephew, who took last Friday so long a walk to 
see us once more. My fears for what was to come and 
regret for what I left behind were so stupifying that it made 
me almost insensible to all what was passing about me, 
only this I shall remember, with satisfaction, that his looks 
were better than I have seen for a long time past. 

I am now going to direct the little parcel for Professor 
Swinden, and likewise to Mr. Crommelin, jun., and to 
Professor Moll, at Utrecht, and Gauss will not be forgotten 
as we go along. 

I beg you will remember me to Miss Baldwin (who I 
hope is with you), and particularly to Mr. Beckwith, whom 
I shall never be able to thank sufficiently for the friendly care 
he has shown to me on all, and especially on the last 
occasion of helping me on with my packages. 

Farewell, my dear Lady Herschel, and let me hear soon 
that you and my nephew are well. 

154 Caroline Liter etia Herschel. [1822. 

Miss Baldwin will write, and of course she will inform me 
of her own and all friends' health, &c. 

Ever your affectionate 



HANOVEB, Oct. 30, 1822. 


We arrived here at noon, on the 28th, without the 
least accident, but not without the utmost exertion and 
extreme fatigue to both my brother and myself, from which 
it will be some time before I shall get the better, on account 
of the many visits of our friends, who come to convince 
themselves of our safe arrival, of which I hope you will 
have been informed long before this can reach you, as Mr. 
Quintain has promised me to send you a line the moment 
he reaches London. He left Hanover yesterday. I had 
wrote a letter in hopes he would have taken it, but that 
was impossible, and the post from here has been changed 
from Tuesday to Monda} r . 

Mr. Housman called also here yesterday, and you may 
easily imagine that many inquiries are made after you and 
my dear nepheAv by all those who come near me, -and I 
hope you will soon enable me, by a few lines, to inform 
them of your welfare and health, and give me the comfort 
to know that you have regained some of your former com- 
posure, after the late melancholy change and unsettled 
state in which we all were involved. 

I found Mrs. H. in personal appearance so different from 
what I had imagined, that I can hardly believe her to be the 
same ; she is just sixty-three years of age, and suffers much 
from rheumatism, which has taken away partially the use 
of her hands, but she is still of so cheerful a disposition 
and so active by way of overcoming disease by exercise, 

CHAP, v.] Arrival in Hanover. 155 

that I cannot wonder enough, and her reception of me was 
truly gratifying ; the handsomest rooms, three or four times 
larger than what I have heen used to, from which I can 
step in her own apartments, have been prepared for me 
and furnished in the most elegant style. But I cannot say 
that I feel well enough to enjoy all these good things nor 
be able to show myself to those who wish to see me, at 
least not at present. 

Mrs. Beckedorff sent to enquire after me when I had been 
hardly two hours arrived. Miss B. is confined with a severe 
cold. My brother went yesterday to see them, and we have 
postponed our meeting till Saturday, when she will come to 
town for the winter. 

From Rotterdam I sent a letter which I hope } T OU have 
received, and by which you will have seen that our passage 
was not of the most agreeable kind. 

The papers to Professor Van Swinden, Cronimelin jun., 
at Amsterdam, and Professor Moll, at Utrecht, have been 
delivered, but that to Gauss, I am sorry to say, is either 
lost or mislaid, for I cannot find it anywhere, [and I am 
vexed to give [my dear nephew so bad a sample of my 
willingness to be of use to him. Perhaps through Mr. 
Quaintain he might get one over when the Duke of Cam- 
bridge returns, else the next conveyance I know of is at 
Christmas, by Gotterman. 

I beg my love to my nephew and Miss Baldwin, who, I 
hope, will soon let me know how you are, &c. 
Believe me, 

Your truly and affectionate 


156 Caroline Liicretia Herschel. [1822. 


HANOVER, Nov. 12, 1822. 


I hope you have received the letter which I sent by 
the first post which went from here after my arrival, dated 
31st October, and also one I wrote in Rotterdam, by which 
you will have seen what a disagreeable passage we had at 
sea, but all those frights and fears, and the troubles and 
fatigues of the journey we afterwards experienced by land 
appear now to have been nothing but a dream, and my 
waking thoughts are for ever wandering back to the scenes 
of sorrows which embittered the afflicting and final parting 
from my revered brother. If I could but be assured that 
you and my dear nephew at this present moment were in 
tolerable health and otherwise exempted from vexation, I 
should feel myself much more comfortable, but it is hard to 
live for months without knowing what may have happened 
to those with whom one has been for so many years imme- 
diately connected and in the habit of keeping up a daily 

I have hitherto not been able to overcome a dislike to 
going abroad, and what little I have seen of Hanover (in my 
way to the families of my two nieces and Mrs. Beckedorff 
who live all close by) I do not like ! And though some 
streets have been enlarged (as I am told), they appear to me 
much less than I left them fifty years ago. But a total 
seclusion from society will not do for a continuance, for I 
will not be ungrateful, I must call on the Delmerings, &c., 
who have been here. Mrs. D. is grown quite fat and very 
handsome, her daughter is a head taller and a very pretty 
young woman ; the eldest son is already in the service with 
the Erz Herzog of Strelitz, and there has been no increase 
in the family since they left England. Mrs. D. made many 

CHAP, v.] Life in Hanover. .157 

inquiries after you and my nephew's health, and gratefully 
remembers the kindly treatment she received at all times 
from 3 r ou. 

Nov. 18th. Mrs. Beckedorff and Miss B. and myself 
have been laid up with severe colds, and I am still unable 
to go into company, but Mrs. B. sent Dr. Mury to make her 
excuse for not returning my visit. The first time I went 
to them, Mrs. B. made all her ten grandchildren stand up 
before me according to their ages, and a fine healthy family 
it is. But all the little folks I am introduced to are disap- 
pointed at finding me to be only a little old woman ; which 
I suppose must be owing to having been told the Great Aunt 
Caroline from England was coming. 

From the family of my eldest niece I have seen nothing 
as yet, and probably shall not before next summer, as her 
affairs must remain for some time in an unsettled state. I 
did not know till we were within sight of Hanover how 
greatly I was obliged to my brother for coming to fetch me, 
for I find he was but barely recovered from a serious illness 
when he left home, which had been occasioned by travelling 
to and fro to his daughter, who was in need of the support 
of both her parents on losing her | husband after a few 
days' illness ; in the same week she had given birth to a son, 
and was made -a widow with nine children in her 38th year. 
But, happily, she is blessed with an uncommon share of 
understanding and fortitude, besides the means of seeing 
them well educated and improving their fortunes. 

Nov. 27f/i. You will see, my dear Lady H., by the 
above, that at different times I have been employed in 
giving a circumstantial account of all what concerns that 
part of my family amongst whom I came to end my days ; 
but I would not conclude, nor send off my letter, till 1 
should have received some satisfactory account of your well 
being, and the arrival of the last post has given a most 

158 Caroline Liicretia, Herschel. [1822. 

agreeable turn to the dismal impression the parting scenes 
of the 17th and 18th October had left on my mind. To 
Miss Baldwin I feel greatly obliged for her comforting letter, 
and hope she will be able to write me many more equally 
consoling ; my brother is going to speak for himself, and if 
I would leave a little room for a few words to my nephew, I 
must conclude with saying that I am 

My dear Lady Herschel's 

Most obliged and affectionate, 


MY DEAR NEPHEW, I thank you for the few lines in the 
P.S., for by them I see you were thinking of me when you 
procured some indexes to Flamsteed's obs. But I will not 
trouble you to send any ; I only wished you to have some 
for your own friends, Mr. South, Major Kater, &c., for as 
they were not members of the R. Society at the time of 
publication, they may perhaps not be possessed of that 
necessary Appendix. 

The next messenger will take the book Mr. Babbage 
wishes for, and I want very much to send you some of the 
numerous philosophical productions in which this country 
my nephew Grosekopf says abounds, but I am at a loss 
on what to fix my choice. I wish you would let me know if 
any of the ivorks of Schelling are known in England? Of 
him it is said that his philosophy is entirely new, and 
beyond all what goes before, and so profound, that nobody 
here can understand him, &c. 

Believe me yours most affectionately, 


CHAI-. v.] Settled in Hanover. 159 


HANOVER, Dec, 18, 1822. 

At last I am enabled to inform you of the safe arrival 
of my boxes and trunks, which only came the day before 
yesterday, and then I was obliged to wait till the keys were 
sent by to-day's post, but I have the satisfaction to find 
that every article is exactly as I had packed them with my 
own hands. For the last three weeks, I was despairing 
of ever seeing them again, for the vessel had been no 
less than three weeks at sea, and then had been obliged to 
unload six German miles beyond Bremen for want of Avater 
in the Weser. The country is in general much distressed 
for want of water ; our large rivers may be passed on foot, 
&c. But of these things you are perhaps informed by the 
newspapers, and of many other circumstances ; such as the 
mice eating the corn as soon as sowed, so that sowing it 
three times over was without effect, till the mice were 
destroyed by a pest coming among them. 

I would give anything if I at this moment could see with 
my own eyes how you and my dear nephew are ; tell him 
that on the day after Christmas (Dec. 26th) the messenger 
will leave Hanover, and will take the book for Mr. Babbage, 
and one in two volumes for my nephew ; also two or three 
letters of his father's which I have found among some papers 
of my brother Alex. 

I know not if I mentioned it in my last that I selected all 
his last receipts when he left England, and shall keep them 
yet a little longer. 

As yet I lead but a dull sort of life ; the town is much 
too gay for me plays, concerts, card parties, walking, &c. 
I cannot take part in any; my cold in my head is still very 
bad, and my poor brother is frequently unwell, and for want 

160 Caroline Liicretia Herschel. [1822. 

of my trunks I could not accept Mrs. Beckedorff's invitation 
to meet Madam Zimmermann, c., in an evening, on ac- 
count of not having clean things ; but she is so kind as to 
call on me sometimes among all the hurry she is engaged in. 
at present with the Princess Augusta. 

Mr. Gisewell came a few days ago to see me ; he lives a 
little way out of town, and poor Mrs. G. keeps her bed, and 
is hardly ever well ; their eldest daughter is happily situated 
with the Queen of Wurtemberg, and Mr. Gisewell enjoys a 
very lucrative situation. 

I wish you could conveniently acquaint my nephew, H. 
Griesbach, as soon as possible, that my brother has received 
an answer to the letter he sent to Antwerp to the sister 
of H. Griesbach, and that in the parcel which the mes- 
senger will bring will be enclosed her letter to Mr. H. G. 

I hope you will make Miss Baldwin write me soon a long 
account how yourself and all around and with you are, but 
pray let it be a favourable one, and remember me to all 
(who are so good as to inquire after me) most cordially, 
and believe me, 

My dear Lady H., 

Your very affectionate 


P.S. We have had a few days' very severe frost; to- 
morrow I shall unpack my thermometer ; I suppose I shall 
find the difference between a German and an English 
winter, though they make the rooms hot enough with their 
stoves ; but then I am afraid of firing their chimneys, and 
we have no water, though the police have demanded that 
every housekeeper shall be provided with eight buckets of 
water in their kitchen ; besides, the price of fuel is enormous, 
owing to the French having destroyed all the forests. 

CHAP, v.] Letters. Life in Hanover. 161 


HAXOVEK, Dec. 26, 1822. 

The parcel I am packing up contains so many odds 
and ends, that I think it will be necessary to give you an 
inventory of them. The most interesting to you, I think, 
will be the three letters from your dear father (which I 
found among my brother Alexander's papers), both on ac- 
count of the handwriting and their containing some accounts 
of the busy life of the times in which they were written. 

Of the philosophical work, I will say nothing further than 
that I am curious to know if I have sent you sense, or 
nonsense, that I may know in future how to trust my in- 
former ; I am only sorry I could not send them bound, but 
they came too late from Leipsic for that purpose. In the 
small cover (with your little man looking through the tele- 
scope) is a shade of your Uncle Alex., which you will be so 
good as to give to your mother, who (if I remember right) 
wished for the same, after it had been packed up, and she 
will perhaps be so good as to send the letter to Mr. Henry 
Griesbach the first time anybody goes to Windsor. 

So much for business, and on the other side I will talk a 
little of myself. But it is a poor account I can give of 
myself at present, and the worst of it is that I cannot hope 
for better times. I am still unsettled, and cannot get my 
books and papers in any order, for it is always noon before 
I am well enough to do anything, and then visitors run 
away with the rest of the day till the dinner hour (which is 
two o'clock). Two or three evenings in each week are 
spoiled by company. And at the heavens is no getting, 
for the high roofs of the opposite houses. 

But within my room I am determined nothing shall be 
wanting that can please my eye. Exactly facing me is a 
bookcase placed on a bureau, to which I will have some 

162 Caroline Lncretia HerscheL [1823. 

glass doors made, so that I can see my books. Opposite 
this, on a sofa, I am seated, with a sofa-table and my new 
writing-desk before me, but what good I shall do there the 
future must tell. 

Many more of such like transactions I was going to com- 
municate to you, but I am interrupted by the carpenter (our 
Andrews), who is come to do some jobs for me, so for this 
once you will be released from my nonsense. 

But one thing I must yet add, which is that you will 
accept my heartfelt wishes for your health, happiness, and 
prosperity throughout the coming year and for many more 
hereafter, in which my brother and sister are joining most 
sincerely, to yourself and Lady Herschel, and believe me, 
my dear nephew, 

Ever your most affectionate aunt, 



HAXOVER, Feb. 27, 1823. 

I take the earliest opportunity I have to acquaint you 
with having received a letter from Mr. H. Goltermann, accom- 
panied with a draft for 2 4s. 6d., which is already received 
and safely deposited in my writing-desk. But the infor- 
mation that he had had the pleasure of seeing you in good 
health afforded me the greatest satisfaction, and he further 
promised me to forward the parcel to you in Downing 
Street, which was particularly pleasing to me, as I wished 
to avoid the sending backward and forward by blundering 

On the 5th of this month I received your letter without 
date, but conclude it was written about the same time with 
those of your dear mother and cousin Mary, dated the 9th 
and fifteenth of January. I delayed answering them (and 

HAP. v.] Letter to J. F. W. Herschel. 163 

must do so still for the present) because I knew that all 
mails were detained this side of the sea. 

One passage in your letter affected me much, it was gra- 
tifying to me and unexpected : " . . . . speaks of your 
English life, &c. . . But now that you have left the scene of 
your labours you have the satisfaction of knowing that they 
are duly appreciated by those you leave behind." But I 
can hardly hope that those favourable impressions should 
be lasting, or rather not be effaced by my hasty departure ; 
but believe me I would not have gone without at least 
having made the offer of my service for some time longer to 
you, my dear nephew, had I not felt that it would be in vain 
to struggle any longer against age and infirmity, and though 
I had no expectation that the change from the pure country 
air in which I had lived the best part of my life, to that of 
the closest part of my native city, would be beneficial to my 
health and happiness, I preferred it to remaining where I 
should have had to bewail my inability of making myself 
useful any longer. 

I hope you and Lady H. have not suffered by the severity 
of the weather ; to me it has certainly done no good. I am 
grown much thinner than I was six months ago ; when I 
look at my hands they put me so in mind of what your dear 
father's were, when I saw them tremble under my eyes, as 
we latterly played at backgammon together. Good night ! 
dear nephew, I will say the rest to-morrow. 

By way of postscript I only beg you will give my love 
and many thanks to your dear mother and cousin for their 
kind letters ; and if the latter will continue from tune to 
time to inform me of all your well-being, I shall equally feel 
gratified, for it is no matter from which hand I receive the 
comfortable information. 

I remain, ever your affectionate aunt, 


164 Caroline Lucretta Herschel. [1823. 


HANOVER, April 14, 1823. 

I hasten to send this sheet, which is but this moment 
come to hand, and the post within an hour of leaving Han- 
over. I begin to fear that I shall not hear from you till 
you send me an acknowledgment of having received the 
certificate, which we are not able to obtain till after the 
10th of April and 10th of October, but January and July 
it is the 5th. I assure you I would rather go without the 
money than be so long without hearing from you, or have a 
line to express your pleasure for the present I offered you 
and Mr. Babbage by sending the books by the Christmas 
messenger, of which I, at this moment, have no information 
that they have been delivered. By the Easter messenger 
I have sent some rnetwurst [a Hanoverian delicacy], which 
I hope you and your dear mother will find good, but when 
they are once cut they must be eaten soon, else they are 
dry and lose all their flavour. 

The Germans are very busy about the fame of your dear 
father; there does not pass a month but something 
appears in print, and Dr. Groskopf saw in den gelehrten 
Zeitungen that Professor Pfaff had translated all your dear 
father's papers from the Phil. Trans, into German, and 
which will be published in Dresden. I wish he had left it 
for some good astronomer to do the same. Pray let me 
know how you and your dear mother are in health ; I am 
not well, but have a severe cold at present, but am always 
and still your affectionate aunt, 


The following letter from the Princess Sophia of 
Gloucester is a pleasing memorial of the kindness and 

CHAP, v.] .Letter to Miss HerscM. 165 

amiability of which Miss Herschel experienced so many 
proofs while she lived at Slough : 



Your obliging attention in sending the Astronomical 
Almanack to me I am very sensible of, and at the same time 
that I return my best thanks for this flattering mark of your 
recollection, I must express my regret that I am not pos- 
sessed of more knowledge and leisure, that I might profit 
sufficiently by your kindness in endeavouring to instruct 
me. I was very happy to learn that you had reached your 
native land in safety, and I sincerely form every wish that 
your health may be long preserved to you ! 

May I request you to remember me kindly to Mr. and 
to Miss Beckedorff, and to be assured yourself of the true 
esteem and regard with which I remain, my dear Miss 

Yours very faithfully, 


LONDON, June 16, 1823. 


HANOVER, June 24, 1823. 


I had intended to write you a long and very learned 
epistle, but I am just now informed that the messenger 
will leave Hanover within a very few hours, and I must 
content myself with giving you the outlines of what I would 
have said. 

I believe I have mentioned in a former letter to your 
mother that a Professor Pfaff has announced his intention 
of giving a translation of your father's papers. It runs in 

166 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1823. 

my head that this professor is but a Jackanapes,* who will, 
spoil the broth,* and I wished he would not meddle with 
what he cannot understand. But I thought it but right to 
inform you of what is come to my knowledge, particularly 
as I was told it had been announced again that the transla- 
tion would appear with corrections and explanations. Dr. 
Luthiner (in the " Ast. Jahrbuch " for this year you may 
see a paper by this gentleman) told me since there were two 
professors of that name (brothers), one an astrologer, and if 
it was the latter he would make nonsense of it. 

Miss Baldwin mentioned you were at Cambridge on 
the business of having your father's papers printed. 
I think it could not be amiss if something of your 
intention could be mentioned in the Edinburgh Quarterly 
Review, which appeal's here at Hanover, and of course 
throughout Germany, that it may be known that your 
father's labours are in yours and of course in the most able 
hands to make remarks on them. I only wish to draw your 
attention this way, but say nothing. 

I have mentioned it over and over again that I was so 
unlucky as to lose the paper on my journey you entrusted 
to my care for Prof. Gauss. If you have another copy to 
spare give it to Mr. Golterinan for the return of the mes- 
senger; for he has heard of your good intention, and 
laments my negligence ; I shall be introduced to him 
shortly, when he comes through Hanover again, where he 
passed through about a fortnight ago on a journey of obser- 
vation, tending to establish some new discovery of his own, 
of which we are soon to know more. The theodolite has 
something to do with it ; so much I snapt up in a company 
of learned ladies who, within these last two months, have 
taken me into their circle. But I am imitating Eobinson 

* These words had apparently to be sought for in the dictionary, as they 
are inserted in pencil in blank spaces left for the purpose. 

CHAP, v.] 1 Letter to J. F. W. Hcrschel 167 

Crusoe, who kept up his consequence by keeping out of 
sight as much as possible when he acted the governor, 
and when they want to know anything of me, I say I can- 
not tell ! . . . . I did nothing for my brother but what a 
well-trained puppy dog would have done, that is to say, I 
did what he commanded me. 

I send you a small publication which I think must inte- 
rest you, but if it contains anything which is new to you I 
cannot tell. I shall, however, obtain what I very much 
long for, viz., to see your handwriting, for surely you will 
write me a line of thanks ? 

I am in general too unwell to sit much at the writing- 
table, and have not been able to do anything which could 
be of use to you. The letters which you will receive under 
cover to you I hope you will do me the favour to cause them 
to be safely delivered. They are sealed already, else I should 
have added a P.S. to your dear mother of the following, 
viz., that I was agreeably surprised by a letter this morn- 
ing from the Princessin Sophia of Gloucester, and that my 
brother's family are all well at present ; my brother in par- 
ticular makes work for the tailor to let out his waistcoats, 
and they are happy to have their eldest daughter for a fort- 
night with them on a visit ; she is a truly interesting little deli- 
cate creature just turned of forty, and has one daughter fit to 
be married, two sons preparing for the university, and the 
youngest weaned a month ago ; she is to me a wonder when 
I look at her, she reads English fluently, French she was 
used to speak like her mother tongue from her infancy. 

I am interrupted, and must seal up the packet. 
And I remain, dear nephew, 

Your most faithful and affectionate aunt, 


168 Caroline Liter etia Herschel. [1823. 


HANOVER, July 14, 1823. 

As a proof of my being still among the number of 
the living, you will perhaps not dislike to see my own hand- 
writing added to that of the three gentlemen who signed my 
certificate. But I am at a loss for a subject which should 
be interesting to you, because, hearing so seldom from you, 
I begin to fear my correspondence ma)' turn out to be 
troublesome. But still I long to hear a little oftener that 
you and your dear mother are well ; for since April eleventh 
(date of Lady H.'s letter) I have had no assurance of the 
same on which I could depend. 

I wish often that I could see what you were doing, that I 
might give 3 r ou a caution (if necessary) not to overwork 
yourself like your dear father did. I long to hear that the 
forty-foot instrument is safely got down ; your father, and 
Uncle A. too, have had many hair-breadth escapes from 
being crushed by the taking in and out of the mirror ; but 
God preserve you, my dear nephew, says 

Your most affectionate Aunt, 


P.S. My brother and family join me in many compli- 
ments to you and your dear mother. They are all well ; I 
am the only one who is complaining, but I think I have a 
right to that preference, for I am the oldest. 


DOWNING STREET, August 1, 1823. 

I have been long threatening to send you a long 
letter, but have always been prevented by circumstances 

CHAP, v.] Letter from J. F. W. Herschel. 169 

and want of leisure from executing my intention. The 
truth is, I have been so much occupied with astronomy of 
late, that I have had little time for anything else the 
reduction of these double stars, and the necessity it has put 
me under of looking over the journals, reviews, &c., for 
information on what has already been done, and in many 
cases of re-casting up my father's measures, swallows up a 
great deal of time and labour. But I have the satisfaction 
of being able to state that our results in most instances 
confirm and establish my father's views in a remarkable 
manner. These inquiries have taken me off the republica- 
tion of his printed papers for the present. 

I think I shall be adding more to his fame by pursuing 
and verifying his observations than by reprinting them. 
But I have by no means abandoned the idea. Meanwhile 
I am not sorry to hear they are about to be translated into 
German. There is a Mr. Pfaff, a respectable mathema- 
tician, and I hope it is he who undertakes the work. If 
you can learn more particulars, pray send them to me. I 
hope this season to commence a series of observations with 
the twenty-foot reflector, which is now in fine order. The 
forty-foot is no longer capable of being used, but I shall 

suffer it to stand as a monument. 


I am much obliged to you for the book on temperaments 
you were so kind as to send me, which seems interesting, 
but I have not had time to read it through 

P.S. Your books on animal magnetism, and that for 

Babbage, arrived safe I wish you would procure 

and send me Pfaff s translation of my father's papers as 
soon as published. Write as often as you can. Your 
letters are very interesting. I wish I were a better corre- 
spondent, but my time is so occupied, I know not where to 

170 Caroline Lucretia, Herschel. [1823. 

P.P.S. Babbage has had ,1,500 granted him by Go- 
vernment to enable him to execute his engine, which is very 
curious. A report is strongly current of Captain Parry's 
successful arrival at Valparaiso ; it comes in a very probable 


HANOVER, August 11, 1823. 


I thank } T OU most heartily for your kind care and 
punctuality in sending my remittance, and am only sorry to 
trouble you so often ; I might have acknowledged the 
receipt thereof by the last post, but I wished first to enable 
myself to give the following information. Johann Wilhelm 
Pfaff, professor, in Eiiangen, is the same who intends to 
translate your father's papers, but those only which he can 
get a copy of. The Philosophical Transactions, I am told, 
are not within his reach. You may depend on my sending you 
whatever may come out as soon as it makes its appearance. 

I can easily imagine how little time } T OU can have to spare 
for writing to me when once you have entered on that mass 
of your father's observations contained in his journals, &c. 
.... I think the temporary index (such as it is) will in 
many instances be of service to you, but X wish to point out 
here that about the year 1800 there was a change made in 
the titles of some of the books. The first volume of mis- 
cellaneous observations was then called Journal No. 10, &c., 
.... so if the index directs you to January 24th, 1797 M. 
(for M. read /.) I think a memorandum of this will be 
found in the cover or beginning of the index, but I am not 

You have truly gratified me by sending the inscription of 
the monument,* for such subjects only are capable of inte- 

* To her brother, in Upton Church, near Slough. 

CHAP, v.] Astronomical. 171 

resting my waking thoughts and nightly dreams. I was 
going to give you an idea of what they are ; hut why should 
I communicate grief? 

The paper for Gauss is gone to Gottingen. I have 
directed it to Professor Harding, who is the next to Gauss 
in the astronomical department, as Gauss is not yet returned 
from his journey of measurements. I made a few extracts 
from the paper * hy way of having something to he delighted 
with, hut am glad such a thing was not invented fifty years 
ago, for then my existence would have heen of no use at all 
at all. 

I am amusing myself with having the seven-foot mounted 
by Hohenbaum, though I have not even a prospect of a 
window for a whole constellation, but it shall stand in my 
room and be my monument as the forty-foot is yours. 
When Hohenbaum comes for a trifling direction, we gene- 
rally do not separate till dinner, or some other interruption 
puts a stop to oui' conversation ; for this man is never tired 
when speaking of your father's inventful imaginations and 
the readiness with which everything was executed. 

I have not above six hours' tolerable ease out of the 
twenty-four, and not one hour's sleep, and yet I wish to 
live a little longer, that I might make you a more correct 
catalogue of the 2,500 nebulae, which is not even begun, but 
hope to be able to make it my next winter's amusement. 

I was much pleased with the partial success of Mr. Bab- 
bage in having something granted towards going on with 
his grand ideas. 

With many compliments and best wishes, &c., 
Your most affectionate aunt, 


* The paper referred to is probably one on "The Aberrations of Compound 
Lenses and Object Glasses," read at the Royal Society on the 22nd March, 1821. 

172 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1824. 


CATANIA (SICILY), July 2, 1824. 

The last time I wrote to you from Slough I little 
expected that my next would be dated from the foot of 
Etna but I mean this to be the farthest point of my 
wanderings, and from hence to turn my steps northwards. 
I am not without some hopes that my time will so far serve 
as to enable me to pay you a visit at Hanover, as I long 
very much to see you among your and my Hanoverian 
friends My mother will have told you of my ar- 
rangements, of the alteration which my plans of life have 
undergone (and for which I see every day more reason to be 
thankful), and of my present excursion, so that the date of 
this will not surprise you. To-morrow I hope to see the 
sun set from the top of Etna, and will keep this open to give 
you an account of my excursion there. Meanwhile let me 
congratulate you on the good accounts my mother gives me 
of your present state of health and spirits, the knowledge 
of which has enabled me to give real pleasure to many who, 
when they heard I was related to you, enquired with the 
greatest interest respecting you. Among the rest I may 
mention M. Arago, of the Observatory at Paris, and M. 
Fourrier, the secretary of the Institute, who has just been 
reading the Eloge of my dear father at a meeting of that 
body, in which I am sure (from the associations I had with 
him, and the written communications that passed between us 
on the subject) your own name will stand associated with his 
in a manner that cannot fail to be gratifying to you. I have 
not (of course, as I quitted Paris before it was read, or even 
written) seen it, but the man is of the right sort, and I will 
endeavour to procure copies of it for you and my uncle. 
Indeed, at Paris I find (as where do I not find it ?) universal 
justice rendered to my father's merits, and a degree of 

CHAP, v.] Her Nephew on the Continent, 1 73 

admiration excited by the mention of his name that cannot 
fail to be gratifying to me, as his son. In fact, I find myself 
received wherever I go by all men of science, for his sake, 
with open arms, and I find introductions perfectly unneces- 
sary. At Turin I sent up my card to Prof. Plana, of the 
Observatory, one of the most eminent mathematicians of the 
age, who received me like a brother, and made my stay at 
Turin, which I prolonged a week for the sake of his society, 
very pleasant. He married a niece of Lagrange (not of 
Lalande), and both he and his wife were full of enquiries 
about my " celebrated sister," (for everybody seems to think 
me your brother, instead of nephew), and made me tell 
them a thousand particulars about you. The same recep- 
tion, but, if possible, still more friendly, and the same 
curiosity (and, I may add, the same mistake) I met with at 
Modena, from Professor Amici, an artist and a man of 
science of the first eminence. He is the only man who has, 
since my father, bestowed great pains on the construction of 
specula, and I do assure you that his ten-foot telescopes 
with twelve-inch mirrors are of very extraordinary perfection. 
Among other of your enquiring fiiends I should not omit 
the Abbe Piazzi, whom I found ill in bed at Palermo, and 
who is a fine respectable old man, though I am afraid not 
much longer for this world. He remembered you person- 
ally, having himself visited Slough. 

Naples, Aug. %Qth, 1824. I take the first moment of 
leisure to proceed with this. I made the ascent of Etna 
without particular difficulty, though with excessive fatigue. 
The ascent from Catania is through the village of Nicolosi, 
about ten miles from Catania, almost every step of which 
is covered with the tremendous stream of lava which, in 
1669, burst from the flanks of the mountain, near Nicolosi, 
and overwhelmed the city. Here I found a M. Gemellaro, 
who was so good as to make corresponding observations of 

174 Caroline Liicretia Herschel. [1S24. 

the barometer and thermometer during my absence, while 
his brother observed below at Catania, and I carried up my 
mountain barometer and other instruments to the summit. 
From Nicolosi the ascent becomes rugged and laborious, 
first through a broad belt of fine oak forest, which encircles 
the mountain like a girdle about its middle, and affords some 
beautiful romantic scenery when this is passed we soon 
reach the limits of vegetation, and a long desolate scorched 
slope, knee-deep in ashes, extends for about five miles to a 
little hut, where I passed the night (a glorious starlight one) 
with the barometer at 21 '307 in. and next morning mounted 
the crater by a desperate scramble up a cone of lava and 
ashes, about 1,000 feet high. The sunrise from this altitude, 
and the view of Sicily and Calabria, which is gradually dis- 
closed, is easier conceived than described. On the highest 
point of the crater I was enveloped in suffocating sulphurous 
vapours, and was glad enough to make my observation (bar. 
21 '400) and get down. By this the altitude appears to be 
between 10 and 11,000 feet. I reached Catania the same 
night, almost dead with the morning's scramble and the 
dreadful descent of near thirty miles, where the mules 
(which can be used for a considerable part of the way) could 
scarce keep their feet. 

Florence, Aug. Wth, 1824. In the hurry and bustle of 
travelling one is obliged to write by snatches when one can. 
* * ' * I hope to hear from you at all events when I reach 
England if I should not see you first, of which I begin now 
to have serious doubts, having been so terribly retarded in 
my Sicilian journey, and at Naples, on my return, ~by the 

illness of a friend. 

Your affectionate nephew, 


P.S. Have you heard how M. Pfaff's translation pro- 
ceeds ? I wrote to him from Cattagione, in Sicily. 

CHAP, v.] Her Nephews Travels. 175 

MUNICH, Sept. 17, 1824. 


I had originally intended to have gone to Switzerland 
from Inspruck, or from this place, having a great desire to 
visit the north of Switzerland, and to make certain observa- 
tions among the Alps, but my wish to see you once more, to 
assure myself and to be able to report to my mother how I 
find you to pay my uncle Dietrich a visit and, though 
last, not least, to see my father's birth-place these con- 
siderations outweigh the attractions of Switzerland, and, 
although the increase this detour will make in the length 
of my journey homewards is so "considerable as to limit my 
stay in Hanover to two or three days at the utmost, I shall 
at least have had the satisfaction of not neglecting an oppor- 
tunity which may never occur again. 

The time when I hope to arrive I cannot precisely fix, as 
it will depend on circumstances which may occur in my 
route, having so arranged as to take in a variety of objects 
interesting in various ways, thus : I shall go somewhat out 
of my way to visit Professor Pfaff, at Erlangen, and I hope 
also to find Mr. Encke at Seeberg, Mr. Lindenau at Gotha, 
Messrs. Gauss and Harding at Gottingen, &c. Moreover, I 
hope there will not take place a resurrection among the 
bones in the cave at Bayreuth before I get there. These 
things necessarily interrupt post haste, besides which there 
are always delays in passing frontiers, and accidents happen- 
ing to wheels, springs, screws, &c. Allowing for these, how- 
ever, I think it cannot be less than a fortnight, nor more 
than three weeks from the date of this when I shall 
have the happiness of once more shaking you by the 
hand, and I need not say what satisfaction it will give me to 
find yourself and my uncle, Mrs. Herschel and their family 
iu good health, as well as our good friends the Beckedorffs, 

176 Caroline Liicretia Herschel. [1824. 

Detmerings and Haussmann, with whom it will be a great 
pleasure to me to renew my acquaintance. You have heard, 
I daresay, through my mother, of our poor friend, Miss 
Deluc's death. Mrs. Beckedorff will have been much 
grieved at it. 

I hope you have not forgotten your English, as I find 
myself not quite so fluent in this language as I expected. 
In fact, since leaving Italy, I have so begarbled my German 
with Italian that it is unintelligible both to myself and to 
everyone that hears it; and what is very perverse, that 
though when in Italy I could hardly talk Italian fit to be 
heard, I can now talk nothing else, and whenever I want a 
German word, pop comes the Italian one in its place. I 
made the waiter to-day stare (he being a Frenchman) by 
calling to him, " Wollen Sie avere la bonta den acete zu 

apportaren ! " But this, I hope, will soon wear off. 


I remain, dear aunt, 

Your affectionate nephew, 
J. F. W. H. 


HANOVER, Sept. 25, 1824. 

I hardly know how to thank you sufficiently for your 
valuable letters, especially for the one dated the 17th of this 
month, as I am now at last assured that my eyes shall once 
more behold the continuation of jour dear father. For the 
remaining days of my life can only by a few hours' conver- 
sation with you be made tolerable, by affording me your 
direction how to finish a general catalogue of the 2,500 
nebulse, &c., which would have otherwise caused us both a 
tedious and vexatious correspondence in the future. 

I anxiously forbore to express my wishes for seeing you, 

CHAP, v.] Visit from her Nephew. 177 

for fear it might have had any influence on th > direction of 
your intended tour. But now all will be well, and I shall 
only say that we are counting the days and hours until we 
shall have the happiness of seeing you, and you will, on 
entering Hanover, have only to direct your postilion to the 
Markt Strasse, No. 453, where the arms of my brother and 
sister, as well as mine, are longing to receive you, and till 

Believe me, my dearest nephew, 

Your faithful and affectionate aunt, 


P.S. I beg my respects to . . Blumenbach, and I shall 
ever remember with many thanks the visit with which he 
honoured me when last at Hanover. 


HANOVER, Oct. 14, 1824. 

My dear nephew has now been gone a week, and I fol- 
low him in idea every inch he is moving farther from us, and 
think he must now be near the water. I am at this moment 
in the greatest panic imaginable, for we have had all the 
week much rain, and now it blows a perfect hurricane. I 
shall not send this till I have heard from you that the dear 
traveller is safely at home, for it would be cruel to augment 
your anxiety, which I know you are feeling till you see him 

[Here follows a long history of the younger members of 
the Griesbach family, with details of the events of seventy 
years before.] 

.... I have not yet done, my dear Lady Herschel, and 
shall not be easy till I have given some little account of my 
brother's [Dietrich's] family, merely for yours and my dear 

178 Caroline Liicretia HerscJtel. [1824. 

nephew's gratification ; for, from his kind inquiries if I 
wanted anything ? if he could do nothing for me ? it 
seemed as if he thought he could not do enough for us. 
My answer was nothing ! nothing ! and this I could say with 
truth, as at my age and situation (which is truly respectable) 
I should not know what to do with more without lavishing 
it on others, where it would only create hahits of luxury 
and extravagance. The time of our dear nephew's being 
here was too short for much confidential conversation, else 
I wished to have made him better acquainted with mine 
and my brother Dietrich's sentiments concerning the noble 
bequest of our lamented brother, of w T hich Dietrich had not 
the most distant hope or expectation (for I believe they never 
had any conversation on the subject), as 1 am sure his way 
of thinking is similar to mine, that brothers and sisters 
(such as we were), each beginning the world with nothing 
but health and abilities for getting our bread, ought to feel 
shame at taking from the other if he should by uncommon 
exertion and perseverance have raised himself to affluence. 
According to this notion I refused niy dear brother's pro- 
posal (at the time he resolved to enter the married state) of 
making me independent, and desired him to ask the king 
for a small salary to enable me to continue his assistant. 
50 were granted to me, with which I was resolved to live 
without the assistance of my brother ; but when nine quar- 
ters were left unpaid I was obliged to apply to him, as he 
had charged me not to go to anyone else. In 1803, you 
and my brother insisted on my having 10 quarterly added 
to my income, which I certainly should not have accepted 
if I had not been in a panic for my friends at Hanover, 
which had just then been taken by the French. 

HAP. v.] Life in Hanover. 179 


HANOVER, Nov. I, 1824. 


Your welcome letter, dated Slough, Oct. 22nd, had 
not only the most beneficial effect on my spirits, but gave 
the greatest pleasure to the whole family, for I find 
Grosekopf had been under great apprehension for your 
safety from the many reported accidents among the ship- 
ping on the English coasts. Count Minister, it is said, lies 
dangerously ill in consequence of the fright he suffered on 
his passage (his lady and his children were with him), and 
Grosekopf imagined he must have left Calais at the same 
time with you. But, thank God, all is well ! All I meet 
with lament your leaving us so soon. Gauss has been here, 
and they say he was quite inconsolable at having missed 
you. Hauptmann Miiller was charged with compliments, 
which he intends to deliver himself if I will give him leave. 
To be sure ! and Olbers, whom Dr. Miirz saw in Bremen, 
was sorry not to have seen you, as you had been so near. 
The Duke of Cambridge, whom Dietrich met in the street, 
asked about you, but we could not trace you farther than 
Antwerp. I believe half Hanover would have been gratified 
if you could have made a longer stay with us. Dr. 
Grosekopf will one day come to England I am afraid, and 
talk you deaf; he is, however, a very good sort of man, 
.and desires me to tell you that if you wanted any books 
you might command him, he would send you anything you 

What gives me the most pleasure in reading over your 
letter, is your telling me that your dear mother is not in the 
least altered in her looks, and that she has been so con- 
siderate as to give me in her own handwriting the assurance 

N 2 

180 Caroline Liter etia Herschel. [1824. 

that you are extremely well. That I may yet often hear the 
same, wishes your most affectionate aunt, 


P.S. [To Lady Herschel] 

My knowing so well to what noble purposes an experimental 
philosopher may use his fortune, it would make me very un- 
happy if my dear nephew was cramped in his. And if I 
could do any good by relinquishing my annuity I would 
leave Hanover and live on my pension in the country 
most willingly, and am only sorry that 1 have no other 
means of showing the care and affection I have for my 
dear nephew. But I beg no other notice may be taken 
of all I have written than often when my nephew or your- 
self cannot write to inform me by the hand of Miss 

B of all your joys and sorrows, that I may, though at 

this distance, sympathise with the same. 

If my nephew cannot be easily supplied with the Berliner 
Jahrbuch, I beg he will let me know, for I have got 
them by me, and can send them by the messenger in 


LONDON, December, 1824. 

My mother and self received your welcome letter, 
and so far from finding, as you seem to fear, the details you 
enter into tedious, I assure you we found them highly in- 
teresting. The sacrifices you have individually made for 
your family are above all praise. It would ill become me, 
who am a rich man (I mean in that sense only in which any 
man can truly be called rich, having enough to satisfy all 
my moderate and rational wants), to deprive you of any, the 

CHAP, v.] Life in Hanover. 181 

smallest part of your income. On the contrary, it would 
rather be my duty, were it insufficient, to add to it, but the 
account you give of your situation, corroborated as it is by 
what I have myself seen of it, sets at rest all apprehensions 
on that score. 


I hope the Catalogue of Nebulae goes on as you wish. 
I shall have little time now for astronomical observations, 
being become a resident in London in consequence of 
taking on myself the duties of Secretary to the Royal 



I have sent the lenses you wished for, and also two prints 
of the king and queen of the Sandwich Islands, which I 
would be much obliged to you if you would transmit to 
Prof. Blumenbach, with my compliments. They are the 
best that have appeared, and are considered striking 


HANOVER, Jan. 14, 1825. 


I am now writing out the Catalogue of Nebulae, and am at 
zone 30, and hope to finish it for the Easter messenger; 
but my health is so wretched that I often am obliged to lay 
by for a day or two. Dr. Grosekopf desires his compli- 
ments, and I am to tell you that when next you come to 
Hanover again he can not only procure you a sight of 
Leibnitz's MS., but leave to take some home with you. I 
am in quest of a good print of Leibnitz for you, and hope 
soon to hear of one, which shall accompany Dr. Franklin's, 
which Dietrich lately found among his music. 

182 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1825. 

Graf Rapfstein brought me lately the Moniteur of 
December, containing the history of your dear father's life, 
as read in June, etc., at full length. It is the only copy of 
the Court paper coming here at Hanover to the French 
Ambassador, and I was obliged to return it to the same ; 
but Grosekopf has promised to procure these copies from 
Paris, that we may all have one. Miss Beckedorf read it to 
me by way of translation, and we both cried over it, and 
could not withhold a tear of gratitude to the author for 
having so feelingly adhered to truth in the details of your 
dear father's discoveries, etc 

But if I have understood Miss B.'s translation right 
I could point out three instances where too great a stress 
is laid on the assistance of others, which withdraws the 
attention too much from the difficulties your father had 
to surmount. 

(1.) The favours of monarchs ought to have been men- 
tioned, but once would have been enough. 

(2 & 3.) Of Alexander and me can only be said that we 
were but tools, and did as well as we could ; but your father 
was obliged first to turn us into those tools with which we 
could work for him ; but if too much is said in one place 
let it pass ; I have, perhaps, deserved it in another by perse- 
verance and exertions beyond female strength ! Well 
done ! 

With compliments to all friends, particularly Mr. and 
Mrs. Babbage, 

I remain, my dearest nephew, 

Yours most affectionately, 


Poor Sir William Watson ! [whose death had lately been 
announced to her.] 

CHAP, v.] Life in Hanover. 183 


HANOVER, March 7, 1825. 

The birthday of my dear nephew! who I wish may enjoy 
in health and prosperity many returns of this day. I will 
drink your health, and on the 16th of this month you may 
return the compliment, for then I shall have completed my 
seventy-fifth year. 

I received the parcel, not till the last day of February, 
which contained your letter of December 4th, with the prints 
of the King and Queen, which I delivered to the Regierungs- 
rath B , to forward to his father at Gottingen. 

The first part of your letter is filled with expressions of 
the most feeling kindness towards me, and I will pass them 
over without attempting to describe what I felt on reading 
the same, and merely for yours and your dear mother's 
satisfaction I will answer as in the way of business all you 
wished to know. November 22nd I received the 50 Lady 
H. paid over for me to Mr. Goltermann, for which I 
returned the day after (23rd) the formal receipt in a letter 
to your mother, and hope it may not have been lost (for I 
generally write what comes uppermost) .... I am ready 
with the Catalogue of Nebulae, and have only to write, not 
a Preface, for I shall write what I have to say at the end 
.... I wish, in case you were not on the spot to receive 
the box from Mr. Goltermann yourself, you would before 
you left town beg Mr. G. to keep it till you called for it 
yourself; for I must confess that from the day I let the 
eight manuscript books and catalogue of Nebula, and cata- 
logue of stars drawn out of the eight books of sweeps, go 
out of my hands, I shall have no peace till I know they are 
safe in your own, where they ought to be. If you can think 
of anything else I can send you, I beg you will let me know, 
for a large parcel is no more trouble than a lesser one to 

184 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1825. 

put up. But I shall write again when I have packed up 
the box, and if you still wish for relics of your dear father's 
hand-writing, I have a great mind to part with his pocket- 
book (to you only), which he used before we left Bath. 
There are only a few pencil memoranda, but they show 
that music did not only occupy his thoughts, but that timber 
for the erection of the thirty-foot telescope of which the 
casting of the mirror was pretty far advanced was thought 

But now I must say a few words to your dear mother, 
but I wish soon to hear that you have received this, and 
also a letter I sent from here on the 14th January. I hope 
it is not lost. 

I am not very well pleased with my English, but have no 
time to write what I have to say over again, but this I 
hope you will be able to understand that 

I am 
Ever your most affectionate aunt, 



HANOVER, March 8, 1825. 

I received your letter of the 4th December, and it 
relieved me of much anxiety I felt from a fear that the 
subject of my long letter of November 8th might have 
injured me in your or my nephew's opinion, and I had 
nothing to console me in this uncertainty, but a line from 
Mr. Goltermann that he had seen you in good health and 
received 5Q from you, which I received the 22nd Novem- 
ber here at Hanover, and sent my thanks and the usual 
receipt the next day. But still I remained in uncertainty, 
till by a letter from Miss B. of 15th December, you kindly 

CHAP, v.] Life in Hanover. 185 

sent me your thanks for the very letters which caused me 
such fears. 

But it grieves me you should yourself take the trouble of 
writing to me ; the least kind expression from you dictated 
to Miss B. is sufficient to make me happy for many days 
after. I hope she will not be taken from you again for a 
long time, for she is the most cheerful companion in health 
and consoling one in sickness you could have about you. 

I was sorry to hear by a letter from Mr. H. Griesbach to 
my brother that you had had another attack of the gout, 
but God grant I may hear soon it may have been of 
short duration. Daily we come to hear of the departure of 
a friend or some one we know, but at our time of life it 
cannot be otherwise, for many of those we knew were older 
than ourselves, and it is painful to see when we at last are 
left to stand (or lie) alone, which is often the case with a 
single person ; for no attention can equal or be more 
cheering than what comes from the heart of an affectionate 
child. But no more of this ; if we must grieve, there is the 
comfort we shall not grieve much longer. 

The death of my eldest nephew I lament sincerely, for he 
was deserving to have enjoyed the prosperity of his children 
some years longer, but by a letter I had from Miss G. 
I was gratified to know that they had found (for the present) 
so noble a support from the King and from the excellent 
Countess of Harcourt. As to the exit of poor F. Griesbach, 
it gave me more joy than pain ; for nothing but the grave 
could relieve him from wretchedness ; and nothing but that 
would rouse his posterity to a sense of their duty, which is 
to work for an honest livelihood ; even the youngest is old 
enough to do so, and I hope to hear that they may awake 
from their dreams of commissions in the army and midship- 
men in the navy. The lot of the children of a poor 
musician and descendants of a menial servant (even to a king) 

186 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1825. 

is not to look too high, but trust to his own good behaviour 
and serving faithfully those who can employ them ; then they 
will not want encouragement. 

This is the way I compose myself, for help I cannot 
anybody any longer, and it hurts me, for I am too feeble to 
think much of these kind of things. The 4th April goes 
the messenger, and my nephew will receive my handy 
works and a few little publications. I have yet some publi- 
cations to make which will take me some time, to go with 
the catalogue : and then I shall have nothing to put me in 
mind of the hours I spent with my dear brother at the 
telescopes, and for that reason I keep the five printed 
vols. of my brother's papers, and read them over once more 
before I send them to my nephew, and besides, it would 
be too much at once, for books are heavy. 

Farewell, my dear Lady H., and remember me to Miss B., 
who, I hope, will be good to me and write often to 

Your affectionate sister, 


P.S. Mr. H is released from his plague, for his 

wife is dead. 


HANOVER, March 27, 1825. 

I hope the MS. Catalogue of Nebulae and that of the 
stars, which have been observed in the series of sweeps 
along with the eight volumes from which they have been 
drawn out, will not unfrequently be of use to you. 

The gauges were brought immediately after observations 
into a book called " Register of Star Gauges," which was 

CHAP, v.] Catalogue of Nebula. 187 

kept with the " Register of Sweeps." Observations and 
remarks on various subjects will often be found as memo- 
randums, made during or at the end of a sweep, to which 
the general index may serve as a direction as for instance 
under the head of zodiacal lights the index points out twelve 
different sweeps in which they were observed. 

N.B. Let it be remembered that the memorandums in 

the transcript of the sweeps between || 1| are mine, and 

must be confided in accordingly. 

At the end of the Catalogue of Nebulae I have put a list 
of memorandums to the catalogue of omitted stars, and 
index to Flamsteed's Observations, contained in his second 
vol. They are properly not all to be called errata, but 
mem. of errors, which could only be solved by later obser- 
vations, &c., &c. 

All your father's papers from the Phil. Trans., which are 
bound in five volumes, and in which I have carried all 
corrections (in the Catalogues of Nebulae) I could find, I 
must keep a little longer, but they shall come safe to your 
hands along with Bode's and Wollaston's catalogues, when 
my eyes have robbed me of the pleasure of reading for 
which misfortune I am in daily fear. 

I am, dear nephew, 

Yours affectionately, 


188 Caroline Liicretia Herschel. [1825. 


April 18, 1825. 


I received this afternoon your most valuable packet 
containing your labours of the last year, which I shall prize, 
and more than prize shall use myself, and make useful to 
others. A week ago I had the twenty-foot directed on the 
nebulae in Virgo, and determined afresh the right ascensions 
and polar distances of thirty-six of them. These curious 
objects (having now nearly finished the double stars) I shall 
now take into my especial charge nobody else can see 
them. I hope very soon (in a fortnight or three weeks) to 
be able to transmit to you and to MM. Gauss and Harding 
our work (Mr. South's and my own) on the double stars, in 
which you will find some of my father's most interesting 
discoveries placed beyond the reach of doubt. It will con- 
tain measures of the position and distance of 380 double 
stars. But Mr. South, who is an industrious astronomer 
(almost as much so as yourself), has just sent me complete 
and accurate measures of 279 more, making in all 659. 
Among these we have now verified not less than seventeen 
connected in binary systems in the way pointed out by my 
father, and twenty-eight at least in which no doubt of a 
material change having taken place can exist. M. Struve, 
at Dorpat, and M. Amici, in Italy, have also taken up 
the subject of double stars, and are prosecuting it with 

I am particularly obliged to you for my father's letters 
and pocket-book they are to me a real treasure. The 
style of the Eloge in the Moniteur is very inferior to what I 
expected from Fourier ; but on the whole it contains nothing 
materially untrue. The publications enclosed were very 
acceptable. I wish my uncle had not confined himself to a 

CHAP, v.] Life in Hanover. 189 

mere catalogue of insects, but had told us a little of their 

habits. Of Leibnitz's MS S. more hereafter 

The mettwursts * are excellent. The packets to my mother 

and Mary shall be sent 

Your affectionate nephew, 



HANOVER, May 3, 1825. 

I must content myself with only writing a few lines 
by way of thanking you for your very interesting letter, 
which has taken all the care from my mind which I felt for 
the fate of the MS. 

Before the box left Hanover, I received a very kind letter 
from Hofrath Blumenbach, in which was one enclosed to 
you ; I hope it is come to hand, though I am still in doubt 
about your direction, and for that reason kept the letter 
near a fortnight before I parted with it. 

You give me hope of receiving some of your and Mr. 
South's works for Gauss and Harding. I know no way of 
sending them than through Mr. Goltermann by the quarterly 
messenger, and that it will be well for you to make some 
inquiry beforehand about the time he is likely to leave 

The Duke of Cambridge will, within a month, be in 
England ; perhaps you will meet with him ; he is a great 
admirer of you. Last Saturday, between the acts of the 
concert, he asked me many questions about you. I wish I 
had had your letter two days sooner, I should then have 
known better how to answer him. He enquired if you were 
much engaged with astronomy ? I said you were a deep 

* Mettwurst is a meat sausage for which Hanover is famous. 

190 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1825. 

mathematician, which embraced all, &c., .... then he 
asked if you studied chemistry ? answer, very much ! you 
had built yourself a laboratorium at Slough, had a house 
in town for three years, was secretary of the Koyal Society, 
would probably, in the vacation, be at Slough, &c., &c., and 
in return he told me that he heard from everybody you were 
a very learned philosopher ; and if I tell you that the Duke 
of Cambridge is the favourite of all who know him, I think 
I have made you acquainted with one another. 

My brother intends soon to write a few words about 
insects himself, which is almost the only object with which 
he amuses himself. It is well he does not see the word 
amuses, for I suppose it should be sublime study, for when- 
ever he catches a fly with a leg more than usual, he says it 
is as good as catching a comet ! Do you think so ? 

Perhaps I may have soon an opportunity of sending by 
Mr. Quintain a German translation of Baron Fourier's 
" Forlesung." I must examine first if I have the whole or 
not ; it does not seem bad, but as I do not understand 
French, which I had only read to me by Miss Beckedorff, I 
can be no judge ; but I think you will not be displeased 
with it ; but at the ending they have not mended it, for it 
also says I had published all your father's papers, though 
nobody will or does believe that ; still I would rather that 
nothing at all had been said about me than say the thing 
which is impossible ; and I shall only fare like Bruce when 
he pretended to have made the drawings to his publications 
himself; his having wrote the book, or even having been in 
Abyssinia, was disbelieved. 

I must only add that I am, my dearest nephew, 
Your affectionate aunt, 


CHAP, v.] Declining health of her Brother. 191 


HANOVER, Sept. 8, 1825. 

I am almost at a loss how to express my thanks suffi- 
ciently for the kind visit with which you honoured me when 
last in Hanover, for not only the wish of seeing the man 
of whom I so often had heard my late brother speak in the 
highest terms of admiration has been at last gratified, but I 
flatter myself of having found in you, sir, a friend who will 
do me the kindness of presenting the works of Flamsteed 
(published in 1725, with my Index to the Observations 
contained in his second volume) to the Royal Observatory 
of the Royal Academy of Gottingen. 

The regret I feel at the separation from books which 
have afforded me so many days interesting employment will 
be greatly softened by knowing that, referring to the memo- 
randums in the margin of the pages in Flamsteed's second 
volume, much time may yet be saved to any astronomer 
who wishes to consult former observations, and therefore I 
hope you will pardon the trouble I am thus giving you, and, 
with the greatest esteem, believe me, 

Your most obliged and humble servant, 



HANOVER, Sept. 20, 1825. 

.... I know not how it comes that I am so barren 
of subjects for filling up these pages ; my spirits are rather 
depressed at present on account of my brother's health, 
who suffers very frequently much from weakness, so that to 
combat against infirmities and peevishness (the usual com- 

192 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1825. 

panions of old age) depends entirely on my exertion to bear 
my share without communication, for unfortunately we are 
never in the same mind, and with a nervous person of an 
irritable temper one can only talk of the weather or the 
flavour of a dish, for which I care not a pin about. But I 
think I shall do well enough, for I am a subscriber to the 
plays for two evenings per week, and Thursdays and Satur- 
days two ladies with long titles are at home. This is what 
they imagine (I believe) a learned society, or blue-stocking 
club, of which, to make it complete (for all what I can say), 
I must make one. I am to have a day too, viz., Tuesday, 
and I begin to tremble for the end of October, when we are 
to start, for in the morning I cannot work, and if I gad 
about all the evenings nothing will be done. But we shall 
see ! one thing I must not forget, there are no gentlemen of 
the party to set us right ; but luckily not much is required, 
to talk of Walter Scott, Byron, &c., will go a long way ; 
and I subscribe to an English library, where they have all 
the monthly reviews and Edinburgh Quarterly, Scott's 

works, and a few other novels 

Believe me yours affectionately, 



SLOUGH [after July}, 1825. 

I have sent by Mr. Golterman several volumes of 
Mr. South's and my paper on double stars, which form the 
third part of the Philosophical Transactions for 1824. You 
will, I have no doubt, be gratified to hear that the French 
Academy of Sciences have thought so well of this work as to 
give us the prize of astronomy for the present year (a large 
and handsome gold medal to each of us). Our competitors, 
it is whispered, were Bessel, Struve, and Pons, the first for 

CHAP, v.] J. F. W. Herschel Gold Medal. 193 

his immense catalogue of stars ; the second for his observa- 
tions, also of double stars ; the third for his discovery of 
twenty or thirty comets. Will you, on receiving them, 
distribute them as follows: 1. Keep the bound copy for 
yourself; 2. My uncle; 3. M. Harding; 4. M. Gauss; 
5. The Eoyal Society of Gdttingen. The three last, I have 
no doubt, M. Blumenbach will forward. I was gratified 
some time back by a short note from Professor Blumenbach, 

from which I find he received the pictures safely. 


I have already found your Catalogue of Nebulae in zones, 
very useful in my twenty-foot sweeps, and I mean to get it 
in order for publication by degrees ; but it will take a long 
time, as it will require a great deal of calculation to render 
it available as a work of reference. 

The permission to examine Leibnitz's MSS. will be very 
acceptable to me should I again visit Hanover, but of that 
I have no immediate prospect. A very intimate friend of 
mine, Mr. James Grahame, talks of taking up his residence 
at Gottingen for the sake of the library of the University. 
He is writing a history of America. I shall give him a 
letter to Professor Blumenbach, and shall beg you to in- 
troduce him to his son, Begierungsrath B., and perhaps 
Dr. Groskopff will make him acquainted with Dr. Koch, of 
the Koyal Library at Hanover, who may be able to assist 
him in his researches If there is anything in Eng- 
land you wish for, or that you cannot get so well in Hanover, 
pray name it, and I will make a point of procuring it 


DEVONSHIRE STREET, Dec. 30, 1825. 


I have not been doing much in the astronomical way 
of late but, en revanche, Mr. South has been hard at work, 

194 Caroline Lucretia Herschcl. [1825. 

and has sent a second paper of 460 double stars to the 
Royal Society. He is returned from Paris, and is now 
busy erecting an observatory, as he means to stay six 
months in England, and cannot be so long without star- 
gazing. I enclose a little thing which I published in 
Schumacher's Astronomische Nachrichten which may in- 
terest you. Shortly I shall have the pleasure to transmit 
you some papers on the longitude of Paris, and on the 
parallax of the fixed stars, which I have now in hand. Do 
not suppose that I pretend to have discovered parallax, but 
if it exists to a sensible amount, I think it cannot long 
remain undiscovered if anybody can be found to put into 
execution the method I am about to propose, and I hope it 
will be taken up by astronomers in general. 

I have so far perfected the system of sweeping with the 
twenty-foot that I can now make sure of the polar distances 
of objects to within 1', and their right ascensions to cer- 
tainly within 2" of time. I have re-observed a great many 
of the nebulae, and in the course of the few sweeps I have 
made, have discovered many not in your most useful cata- 
logue. But I am now fixed in town for the winter, and 
have brought up the said catalogue to consider of the best 
mode of preparing it for publication, if it meets with your 

Mr. South's later observations strikingly confirm the re- 
sults obtained by us jointly respecting the revolving stars, 
and aiford new and very remarkable instances in support of 
my father's ideas on this subject. Of one pair (the double 
star Ursa Majoris) I have no doubt we shall soon obtain 
elliptic elements. 

The following is the answer from Professor Gauss to 
the letter already given : 

CHAP, v.] Letter from Professor Gauss. 195 


Being returned hither a few days ago from a journey 
that had kept me absent during a month, I found your 
favour of September 8th, together with your extremely valu- 
able present of Flamsteed's "Hist. Coel.," " Atlas Coel.," 
and your own catalogue. Be assured that I acknowledge 
your kindness with the most sincere gratitude, and that 
these works, so precious by themselves, but much more so 
by the numerous enrichments from your own hand, shall 
always be considered as the greatest ornament of the library 
of our Observatory. 

I am very sorry that my absence from Gottingen has. 
deprived me of the pleasure of seeing Mr. Grahame, who 
was calling upon me the same day I had set out for my 
journey. However, I am glad to understand from your 
nephew's letter, which Mr. Grahame has left here, that this, 
gentleman intends to return to Gottingen in the next year. 

I cannot express how much I feel happy of having made 
the personal acquaintance [of one] whose rare zeal and dis- 
tinguished talents for science are paralleled by the amiability 
of her character, and I flatter myself that in future, if I find 
once more an opportunity of staying in Hanover, I shall 
not be denied the permission to repeat personally the assu- 
rance of the high esteem with which I am, 
Dear Madam, 

Your most obliged humble servant, 


GOTTINGEX, Sept. 28, 1825. 

o 2 


LIFE IN HANOVER continued. 


Feb. 1, 1826. 


On the 17th January I received by the same post 
your letters of December 30th and January 9th. I should 
have answered your precious communication of December 
30th immediately if I was not in hopes of receiving daily an 
answer to what I sent on the 28th December. I cannot ex- 
press my thanks sufficiently to you for thinking me worthy 
of forming any judgment of your astronomical proceedings, 
and am only sorry that I cannot recall the health, eyesight, 
and vigor I was blessed with twenty or thirty years ago ; for 
nothing else is wanting (and that is all) for my coming by 
the first steamboat to offer you the same assistance (when 
sweeping) as, by your father's instructions, I had been 
enabled to afford him. For an observer at your twenty-foot 
when sweeping wants nothing but a being that can and will 
execute his commands with the quickness of lightning [!], 
for you will have seen that in many sweeps six or twice six, 
&c., objects have been secured and described within the 
space of one minute of time. 

I cannot think that any catalogue but the MS. one in 
zones (which was only intended for your own use) would 
facilitate the reviewing of the Nebulae, and you are the only 

CHAP, vi.] To J. F. W. Herschd. 197 

one to whom 1885, viz., 2nd and 3rd class, out of the 
2500, can be visible in your twenty-foot. Wollaston, who 
knew this, has given in his Catalogue only 1st and 4th, 
&c. classes of the first 1000, the second not having been 
published at that time, and they are without the yearly 

Bode has given the first and second Catalogues complete, 
and calculated the yearly variation to each by de Lambre's 
Tables. (See Bode's preface, p. iv., line 18.) The last 
500 were not published yet in 1800, or rather 1801. I 
only mention this that if you wanted the variations, and 
had a mind to trust to that catalogue of errors, it would 
save an immense trouble by copying them. But the more 
I think of these, the more I doubt if it would not be in- 
juring the places of objects merely (though accurately) 
pointed out, to calculate them in the same manner as stars 
repeatedly observed in fixed instruments ; and I doubt if 
your father noticed Bode's having done so. 

You will find undoubtedly many more nebulae which may 
have been overlooked for want of time, flying clouds, hazi- 
ness, &c., especially in those sweeps which are registered 
half sweep. It is a pity time could not be found for making, 
as was often intended, a register in which the boundaries of 
the sweeps, with the nebulse, were all brought to one time, 
either to Flamsteed's or 1790 or 1800. The register in 
Flamsteed's time, which is from 45 to 129, is for that 
reason the best mem. At the time that register was made, 
the apparatus for sweeping in the zenith was not completed, 
and higher than 45 was not used. 

If you should wish in the latter part of the summers 
(when your father was generally from home) to fill up the 
unswept part of the heavens, you might perhaps discover as 
many objects as would produce a pretty numerous catalogue. 
You will see in the register of Flamsteed's time a curved 

198 Caroline Liter etia HerscheL [1826. 

line which denotes that the Milky Way is in those places, 
and if you see an L and find a cluster of stars thereabout, 
I shall claim it as one of those I mentioned in my last letter 
to you. It was the assistant's business to give notice when 
such marks or any nebulae in the lapping over of the sweep 
either above or below were within reach, by making the work- 
man go a few turns higher or lower. (N.B. No more than 
is convenient without deranging the present sweep.) But I 
am forgetting myself, and fear I am tiring you unneces- 
sarily, and will only add that if your father wanted at any 
time to review or to show any of his planetary or other re- 
markable nebulae to his friends, the time and P.D. was, by 
the variation of its nearest star in Wollaston's or Bode's 
catalogue, brought to the intended time of observation, and 
P.D. comp. of latitude, with allowance for refraction, 
gave the quadrant for setting the telescope. 

But after all, dear Nephew, I beg you will consider your 
health. Encroach not too much on the hours which should 
be given to sleep. I know how wretched and feverish one 
feels after two or three nights waking, and I fear you have 
been too eager at your twenty-foot, and your telling me that 
you have been unwell for some months, and now only begin 
to feel better, makes me very unhappy, and I shall not be 
comfortable till I see by your next that you are perfectly 
well again ; I am quite impatient to see what you have 
to say about the parallax of the fixed stars, but on such 
occasions I am vexed that your father did not live to know 
of your grand discoveries. You say something of a paper 
on the longitude of Paris ; I hope you will think of Gauss 
when you have anything new. 

Among the letters from your father's correspondents in 
alphabetical parcels you will find under the letter P. some 
of Pond's, who was about the end of the last century in 
Lisbon, with an excellent seven-foot telescope of your 

CHAP, vi.] Mr. South. 

father's, and I remember that several letters passed between 
them about a double star in Bootes. 

I am much obliged to you for the sheet of Schumacher's 
" Astronom. Nachrichten." It is highly interesting to me, 
and will set many a one right without offending anyone. 
On looking in the 2nd Catalogue of double stars, No. 104, 
C Bootes, VI. Class, November 29th, 1782, and 3rd Cata- 
logue, No. 114, C Bootes, I. Class, April 5th, 1796, I cannot 
help thinking on the possibility that in the lapse of thirteen 
years and a half the small stars may have come out from 
behind the large one. But I beg do not laugh at me for 
breaking my head about these things, and I will now begin 
to talk about what I can comprehend. 

From your mentioning Mr. South in your last letter, I 
fear he intends leaving England, at which I should be very 
sorry on your account, for if I should not live long enough 
to know you comfortably married, I could only console 
myself by your having always a Babbage, South, or Gra- 
hame to pass your social hours with. If you can meet with 
a good-natured, handsome, and sensible young lady, pray 
think of it, and do not wait till you are old and cross. And 
let me know in time that I may set hands to work to make 
the bridal robe ; here are women who work exquisitely, and 

at a price within the reach of my purse. 


P.S. Dear Nephew, I have spent too much time in gos- 
siping with your dear mother for saying anything besides, 
Taut I am, 

Your most sincere and affectionate aunt, 


200 Caroline Lucretia HerscJiel. [1826, 


HANOVER, Aug. 8, 1826. 

The long continuance of the great heat has had so very 
bad an effect on nay feeble frame ; and considering niy 
advanced age, I ought not to put off the making a sort 
of a will, which I would set about with the greatest 
pleasure if I had anything to leave for which you would 
be the better. But I am sure you will not be disappointed, 
for you remember I parted with my little property before I 
left England (against your -good advice) because I thought 
at that time I should not live a twelvemonth. 

From the first moment I set foot on German ground, I 
found I was alone. But I could not think of separating 
myself from him, [her brother Dietrich] especially as his 
health is so very precarious, that I often think he will go 
before me. At this present moment he is in bed veiy ill, 
suffering from weak nerves. But the above is all by way of 
showing you the necessity for begging you to answer to the 
following questions. 

My sweeper I wish to leave to Miss Beckedorff, and the 
picture of the Princess of Gloucester to her mother, for 
the two ladies have been my guardian angels for many 

Dr. Groskopff is to have the seven-foot reflector, though 
I know it will only be a relic to him, but it will not be 
destroyed or sold for an old song. My clothing and such 
articles of furniture as I have been obliged to purchase, 
my three nieces may divide themselves in. Your dear 
father's publications in five volumes, Bode's and Wollaston's 
Catalogues (full of my memorandums), and one of my 
Indexes, shall be sent to you. Also a rough copy of the 

CHAP, vi.] Making her Will. 201 

general Index to your father's observations, and several 
articles of that sort with memorandums taken from what I 
have called a Day-book, which at leisure you may look over 
and afterwards consign to the flames, for I cannot take it 
in my heart to do it myself. 

The observations on double stars by you and Mr. South 
(so handsomely bound) and the volume sent last, by South, 
shall I send them to you ? else I leave them to the Duke 
of Cambridge ! answer required. 

Taylor's tables, will they be of use to you for your godson 
Babbage ? else they must be only an ornament to Gros- 
kopff's library ! answer required. 

I am impatient to have your answer to this stuif, which 

I am almost ashamed to trouble you with. 


My next shall be of a more agreeable subject, and I have 
only to say, 

I am, 

Your most affectionate aunt, 



MONTPELLIER, Sept. 17, 1826. 


You will think me a strange gad-about, but my last, 
if you have got it, will have prepared you to expect a letter 
from either the north or south of Europe from me, in short 
from any country except England. I was then not decided 
whether to go to Norway or the south of France, but here 
I am at last, and having a letter-writing day before me 
and yours of the 8th August in my portfolio, I cannot do 
better than to answer it. 

With regard to the dispositions you mention in your 
letter, and respecting which you express a wish for my 

202 Caroline Liter etia HerscJiel. [1826. 

opinion, they are such as it is impossible to do otherwise 
than approve, and such as the good sense and kindness 

which marks everything you do has dictated. 


I have been rambling over the volcanoes of Auvergne, 
and propose before I quit this, to visit an extinct crater 
which has given off two streams of lava at Agde, a town 
about thirty miles south of this place on the road to the 
Spanish frontier. Into Spain, however, I do not mean to 
go, having no wish to have my throat cut. I am told, 
however^ that a regular diligence runs between this and 
Madrid, and is as regularly stopped and robbed on the 

You say you wish for an answer respecting the vol. of 
observations on double stars, sent by Mr. South and my- 
self, but can I do better than leave such matters to your 
judgment ? At the same time, as having belonged to you 
they could not but have a value in my eyes beyond my own 
copy ; but pray decide yourself. I have several left. 

I regret extremely to hear you feel those little (perhaps 
not little) inconveniences we are none of us exempt from, 
arising from the imperfections of human nature, both in 
ourselves and those we live with. I believe the best receipt 
for them is endurance and a determination to show ourselves 
superior to them. 

I have my rubs now and then too, but I make up my mind 
to them as quite inevitable, and arising from causes over 
which I have no control. I am very sorry to hear of my 
uncle's bad state of health. 

I must be in England in the beginning of October, or at 
farthest by the 15th. So, you see, I have no time for 
Hanover on my way back. It is dreadfully hot here, and I 
am much disappointed with the place. However, I hope to 
get one day of intense sunshine while I remain in this 

CHAP, vi.] y. F. W. Herschel in Auvergne. 203 

latitude on account of some observations on solar radiation 
I have to make with a new instrument which I made before 
I left England, and brought with me. I carried it up the 
Puy de Dome, and was in hopes to have used it at the Great 
St. Bernard, in Switzerland, but that must now stand over 
for another year. 

Adieu, dear aunt, and believe me " where'er I go, what- 
ever realms I see " 

Your affectionate nephew, 

J. F. W. H. 


Sept. 29, 1826. 


Within this hour only I received your dear letter, 
-dated Montpellier, Sept. 17th, which I assure you has made 
quite another (and what is more) a proud woman of me ; for 
your answers to my few questions are so kindly expressive of 
approbation, that I shall in future not fear to follow my 
own opinion, which through my whole lifetime I never ven- 
tured to do before. 

I am glad you did not come to Hanover, for I am sure to 
part from you once more would finish me before I am quite 
prepared for going. 

The letter you mention having written me before you 
left England I have not received. The fault does not lie 
here, for the secretary here takes too much pleasure in 
sending me my letters. 

I must hasten to get my packet away, but will only beg 
to let me know through Miss Baldwin as soon as you get 
home of your safe arrival, for I fear you must often be 
.exposed to great dangers by creeping about in holes and 

204 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1826. 

corners among craters of volcanoes, but you know best, and 
I hope you found something 

I am, 

My dear nephew's affectionate aunt, 



Nov. 1, 1826. 

The 1st vol. of the translation of your dear father's 
papers is come out. I shall have it in a few days from the 
bookbinder, and in February, I am told, the next volume 
will make its appearance. I wish you would inform me as 
soon as possible if I shall send you a copy, that I may write 
for one in time to have it ready by the end of December, 
when the messenger leaves Hanover. It is a pity you 
cannot have it immediately. The plates are not with the 
work, but are to be had bound in a separate book (I suppose 
when the whole is finished). 

I long to know that you are arrived safe and in good 
health in England again, for by your last, dated Montpellier, 
Sept. 17th, I see that you had then another volcanic moun- 
tain to visit, besides an observation to make on solar 
radiation with your new instrument ; the very thought of 
it puts me in a fever all over at this present moment, 
though we have no longer to complain of heat ; so I beg 
you will inform me that your health has not been injured, 
and that you have not been totally disappointed in your 

I lead a very idle life, my sole employment consists in 
keeping myself in good humour and not be disagreeable to 

Groskopff tells me the translation of your father's papers 

CHAP, vi.] Accident at Sea. 205 

causes a great sensation among the learned here in 


Believe me, dearest nephew, 

Yours, most affectionately, 



Dec. 5, 1826. 

I received your letter of the 18th November, the day 
before yesterday, therefore fifteen days old, which is pretty 
well considering the time of year. I hope this will reach 
you soon, for I have longed very much to give you an 
account of the last parcel of papers you sent, which I only 
deferred till I had received an account of your safe arrival 
in England by your own hands. 

The parcel which you gave to Mr. Goltermami on the 
18th August arrived here by the messenger on the 3rd 
November, and five days after (which it took me to dry the 
copies, for the messenger had met with storm and accidents 
at sea, and some of his boxes had been under water), viz., 
the 18th Nov., I sent to Gottingen, according to direction, 
with a note, to Gauss. And those to Bessel and Encke I 
enclosed with Bode's copy, and wrote a letter to the same by 
way of thanks for some kind enquiries he had made after 
me ; and now I see that fourteen days after this good man 
[Bode] departed this world in his eightieth year, but I have 
no doubt he has delivered the papers immediately, for he 
had no illness, and was at his last hour at his writing-table 
employed with writing the " Berliner Jahrbuch " for 1830. 

The copies were, after being dried, perfectly clean, no 
stain remaining, and that they were so long detained is not 
the fault of Mr. G., for the Michaelmas messenger was the 

206 Caroline Lucretia HerscheL [1826. 

first that went after the 18th Aug. In the parcel I found 
also the letter you wrote before leaving England, which I 
concluded to have been lost, but now all is safe. 

Sun and Comet. At Hanover totally cloudy, and by what 
I can learn from a certain astronomical gossip, Prof. Wild, 
it has been so throughout all Germany, for he has had no 
account that anything has been seen on the 18th Nov. On 
the 17th it is mentioned (in the Zeitungen, I believe) a large 
spot on the sun to have been observed at Frankfort, but the 
18th being cloudy it could not be pursued. 

In your observations with the twenty-foot you mention a 
Mr. Ramage as having observed with you ; and in another 
place you speak of his twenty-five-foot reflector. Pray tell 
me something about this gentleman, for I never heard his 
name before, and if I had not been so fortunate as to have 
seen Babbage and South just before I left England, I should 
not now have the comfort to know you had so estimable 
friends to communicate with ; and I shall rejoice to know 
that the number of valuable men I have known, and are no 
more, might be replaced by some who are worthy to be con- 
temporary with the son of your father ! 

You ask, as it were, if I were satisfied with the way in 
which you have mentioned me in that paper ? If I should 
answer honestly I should say not quite, for you set too great 
a value on what I have done, and by saying too much is say- 
ing too little of my brother, for he did all. I was a mere tool 
which he had the trouble of sharpening and to adapt for the 
purpose he wanted it, for lack of a better. A little praise is 
very comfortable, and I feel confident of having deserved it 
for my patience and perseverance, but none for great abilities 
or knowledge. But of this you will perhaps be a judge, as 
I am now gathering from loose memorandums a little history 
of my life during the years from 1772 to 1788 

CHAP, vi.] Monkey Clock to count Seconds. 207 

You mention a monkey-clock, or jack, in your paper. I 
would only notice (if you mean the jack in the painted deal 
case) that Alex made it merely to take with me on the roof 
when I was sweeping for comets, that I might count seconds 
by it going softly downstairs till I was within hearing of the 
beat of the timepiece on the first floor (at that time our 
observatory) all doors being open. Your father never used 
it except when polishing the forty-foot 

In about three weeks the messenger leaves Hanover, and 
I will send you the first volume of the translation of your 
father's papers; but I shall not order ten copies as you 
desired, till you give me further orders, for I do not think 
you will be pleased with the work, and it seems there is not 
much call for them. Dr. Luthmer, says Pfaff, was not the 
man who ought to have attempted such a work, it ought to 
have been a Bessel. 

To your dear mother and Miss B. I beg to be kindly 

And remain 

Yours, most affectionately, 



Dec. 24, 1826. 


You will with this receive the only volume of the 
translation (printed on bad paper, without the prints, &c., 
&c.,) which is out at present, and unless you desire me in 
your next to send you ten copies, I shall only take one 
which can serve us both. 

I certainly will do as you desire, and tell you the amount, 
if at any time you should want some expensive publication, 
as our bookseller here can get by return of post from 
Leipsic whatever is ordered. But as to trifles, I beg you 

208 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1827. 

will never think about, as I should be at a loss for proving 
that you, my dearest nephew, are daily in my mind, when 
I am lavishing sums on nieces and grand-nephews, and nieces 
who care not for me, nor I for them. But enough of this ; 
only write me sometimes what you and your astronomical 
friends are doing. 

I was much gratified to hear that Mr. South had received 
the medal. Groskopff has seen it announced in the papers, 
where your name was also honourably mentioned ; these are 
the morsels for me to feed upon, for here are no astro- 
nomers but one, Dr. Lutbmer, who observes Jupiter's satel- 
lites, as you may see by the Berliner Jahrbuch, which I 
suppose you have, as usual, else I have got them from r 23 
to '29, and could send them. 

I must write a line yet to your dear mother and Miss B., 
and will conclude with wishing you a merry Christmas and 
a happy New-year (as the saying is), and with loves and com- 
pliments wherever they are due, &c., &c., 


P.S. My brother is at present tolerably well, but I 
hardly ever knew a man of his age labouring under more 
infirmities, nor bearing them with less patience than he 
does ; the rest are well enough ! * 


April, 1827. 

I have more than once asked if you would have my 
history, but my question has never been answered, and I 
am (though unwillingly) obliged to send it off without 

having received your permission 

Perhaps I have told you nothing but what you have known 
long since ; but as my thoughts are continually fixed on the 
* Dietrich Herschel died towards the end of January, 1827. 

CHAP, vi.] The first Chapter of her History. 209 

past, I was, as it were, conversing with you on paper, not 
choosing to trust them to any one about me, for I know none 
who would understand me, or whom it can concern, what 
my own private opinion and remarks have always been about 
the transactions that continually passed before my eyes. 
But there can be no harm in telling my own dear nephew, 
that I never felt satisfied with the support your father 
received towards his undertakings, and far less with the un- 
gracious manner in which it was granted. For the last sum 
came with a message that more must never be asked for. 
(Oh ! how degraded I felt even for myself whenever I thought 
of it !) And after all it came too late, and was not suffi- 
cient ; for if expenses had been out of question, there would 
not have been so much time and labour and expense, for 
twenty-four men were at times by turns day and night at 
work, wasted on the first mirror, which had come out too 
light in the casting (Alex more than once would have de- 
stroyed it secretly if I had not persuaded him against it), 
and without two mirrors you know such an instrument 
cannot be always ready for observing. 

But what grieved me most was, that to the last, your 
poor father was struggling above his strength against 
difficulties which he well knew might have been removed, 
if it had not been attended with too much expense. 
The last time the mirror was obliged to be taken from the 
polisher on account of some obstacle, I heard him say (in 
his usual manner of thinking aloud on such occasions), "It 
is impossible to make the machine act as required with- 
out a room three times as large as this." 

But when all hopes for the return of vigour and strength 
necessary for resuming the unfinished task was gone, nil 
cheerfulness and spirits had also forsaken him, and his 
temper was changed from the sweetest almost to a pettish 
one ; and for that reason I was obliged to refrain from 

210 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1827. 

troubling him with any questions, though ever so necessary, 
for fear of irritating or fatiguing him ; else there was work 
enough cut out for keeping me employed for several years 
to come, such as making correct registers of the sweeps in 
which all Nebulee were to be laid down and numbered, com- 
plete Catalogues, &c. But what I most regret is, that I 
never could find an opportunity of consulting your father 
about collecting the observations made with the 40-foot into 
a separate book from the journals, into which they were 
written down among other observations made with the other 
instruments in the same night. I know besides that 
many must have been lost, being noted only either on slates 
or on loose papers, like those on the first discovery of the 
Georgian Satellites. Owing to my not being, as formerly, the 
last nor the first at the desk (generally retiring as soon as the 
mirror was covered), the memorandums were often mislaid 
or effaced before I had an opportunity of booking them. 
But I ought to remember that suchlike incomplete observa- 
tions were made under unfavourable circumstances. For 
instance, the P. D. clock disordered by not having been 
used for some time ; the timepiece not having been regulated, 
nor every one of the out- door motions wanting oiling or clean- 
ing ; company being present ; the night not perfectly clear ; 
and, in general, the first night the instrument is used 
after it has been left at rest for some time, it cannot be ex- 
pected that all should go on without interruption or ease 
without a good mechanical workman had spent best part of 
the day in looking over all the motions, in doing which your 
father used to find great pleasure. 

But what I most lament is, that between the interval 
before your coming to the age of forming a proper opinion 
of the instrument, it had nearly fallen into decay almost in 
all its parts. But we have all had the grief to see how 
every nerve of the dear man had been unstrung by over- 

CHAP, vi.] Sir William's Copy of Locke. 211 

exertion ; and that a farther attempt at leaving the work 
complete became impossible. 

But, by the description of the forty-foot telescope given in 
the Philosophical Transactions, May 18, 1795, it may be 
seen what a noble instrument had been obtained by all the 
exertions described in my narrative ; but from that description 
so briefly given there, no idea can be formed with what ac- 
curacy and nicety each part of the whole had been executed 
to make it an instrument fit for the most delicate obser- 

P.S. I must say a few words of apology for the good 
King, and ascribe the close bargains which were made 
between him and my brother to the shabby, mean-spirited 
advisers who were undoubtedly consulted on such occasions ; 
but they are dead and gone, and no more of them ! Sir J. 
Banks remained a sincere well-meaning friend to the last. 

Farewell, my best Nephew ! 


May 8, 1827. 

Through the friendly care of Mr. D I am 

enabled to send you the first and second volumes of Locke, 
the third volume, I hope, will yet be found, and I shall send 
it by another opportunity. I know you will prize the book 
when you know that it was one of your father's earliest 
treasures, purchased out of his own little savings, at the age 
of 18 years* when, along with his father and eldest brother, 
he was in England with the Hanoverian Guard, which you 
will see by the date and name, written in his own beautiful 
handwriting. "When in 1758 he again went to England, it 
was under such unpleasant circumstances that he was 
obliged to leave it to his mother to send his trunk after Mm 
to Hamburg ; and she, dear woman, knew no other wants 

* See p. 10. 

p 2 

212 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1827. 

but good linen and clothing, and your dear father's books 
and self-constructed globes, &c., were left behind, and served 
us little ones for playthings till they were destroyed ; but 
no more of this. You must excuse an old woman, especially 
such a one as your old aunt, who can only think of what is 

past, and is for ever forgetting the present 


Now, there is gone a Herr Von Miuiighausen, who had 
asked the same favour, [that of being allowed to take a 
parcel to England] for they are all very desirous of knowing 
J. H., and would have called on me, and perhaps I might 
have had my hand kissed once more. I assure you it is 
no trifle here at Hanover to have one's hand kissed, if one 
cannot count one's forefathers for sixteen generations back 
as ennobled ; but, alas ! he was obliged to go at a moment's 
warning ; but Dr. Gr. gave him your address, and I hope 
you will receive him kindly. 

Farewell, dear Nephew, &c., &c., 



Between 4th and llth May, 1827. 


I received yesterday your packet by Mr. Goltermann, 
containing the ten copies of the first vol. of Pfaff's transla- 
tion of my father's works with the plates, which are really 
abominable. However, there is no help for it. I shall 
destroy those of the Nebulae. A much more interesting 
part of its contents is your account of your own history, for 
which I cannot enough thank you, and it is really one of the 
most precious documents you could have sent me ; every 
line of it affected me deeply. The point of view in which 
it places my father's character is truly noble. You under- 
rate both the value and the merit of your own services in 

CHAP, vi.] Her Nephew's receipt of her History. 213 

his cause, but the world does you more justice, and his son 
feels them a great deal more than he knows how to express. 
I shall preserve this as the most precious thing, and you will 
add to the obligation you have conferred on me by sending 
the papers you refer to under the title of No. I. 

The Journals and the mettwursts * also came safely ; th e 
Journals contain some very curious matter not known in 
England, and which conies very opportunely here, where, I 
am sorry to say, science is going to sleep. 

I have just completed a second Catalogue of double stars, 
which willbe read at the Astronomical Society (of which I now 
have the honour to be President) on Friday (May llth) next 
(if I can get it fairly copied in time). My work in the Be view 
of Nebulae advances slowly, as I can very seldom get a night 
or two at proper times of the moon and year to sweep. But I 
find your Catalogue most useful. I always draw out from it 
a regular working list for the night's sweep, and by that 
means have often been able to take as many as thirty or forty 
nebulffi in a sweep. I have now secured such a degree of 
precision in taking the places of objects in the telescope, that 
the settling stars (which I prepare a list of each night and 
arrange them in order of B. A. in the working list) cross 
the wire often on the very beat of the chronometer when 
they were expected, and not unusually enter the field of 
view bisected by the horizontal wire of the eye-piece. In 
short, I reckon my average error in B. A. in determining 
the place of a new object by a single observation, not to 
exceed one second of time, and in Polar distance a quarter 
of a minute. This you will easily perceive to be a 
considerable improvement in respect of precision, which 
is more my aim than it was my father's, whose object 
was only discovery. I have found a great many nebula? 
not in your Catalogue, and which, therefore, I suppose 
* Meat sausages a Hanoverian delicacy. 

214 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1827. 

are new. But I won't plague you any more with this at 



Believe me, dear Aunt, 

Your affectionate Nephew, 

J. F. W. H. 


HAXOVER, July 10, 1827. 

It makes my heart overflow with gratitude when I 
see so many worthy people remember me with kindness, 
and I particularly rejoice that Mrs. Morsorn has borne her 
misfortunes with such resignation so as to be still able to 
participate in the society of her friends ; of which I am, 
alas ! through the great distance, entirely cast out, and am. 
obliged to trust alone to myself for keeping up my spirits, 
and to bear pain and sickness, or feel pleasure without 
having anybody to participate in my feelings. Out of my 
family connections, however, I can boast to possess the 
esteem and love of all who are great and good in Hanover, 
but to a lonely old woman, who is seldom able to go into or 
receive company, this does not compensate for the want of 
sympathising relations. 

But I have now, by change of apartments, made myself 
quite independent of anybod} T . As long as I can do some- 
thing for myself this will do very well; but I must not 
meet troubles at a distance. I may, perhaps, be spared a 
long confinement before I leave this world, else such a thing 
as a trusty servant is, I believe, hardly to be met with in this 
city, which, along with the people in it, are so altered since 
the French occupation and the return of the military with 
their extravagant and dissipated notions, imbibed when in 

CHAP, vi.] Her English Bed. 215 

Spain and England, with their great pensions, which they 
draw from the latter country, that it is quite a new world, 
peopled with new beings, to what I left it in 1772. Added 
to this comes the fear of having my new little English bed 
(which on my removal I made with my own hands) burnt 
before I am aware ; for, figure to yourself what danger one 
continually must be exposed to, when, in the house where I 
live, seven families (besides the floor my sister-in-law and I 
occupy) with their servants and children, are living, and 
their firing wood and turf is all carried over our heads. 
About a month before Easter a great brewery, very near us, 
burnt down, with many surrounding houses, to the ground. 
I looked out of the window, and the burning flakes fell on 
my forehead ; besides this, I have had four times the fright 

of fires at some greater distance. 


Your most affectionate Sister, 



Aug. 1(5, 1827. 


On the 9th I received the papers with your short but 
sweet letter, and according to your direction they are by this 
time at their destined places, all but Struve's and Bessel's ; 
the latter, I was obliged to leave to the care of Encke, and 
Struve's to Schumacher. I am particularly obliged to you 
for your second Catalogue of double and treble stars, which 
on reading it once over, makes me long for the time when I 
shall be perfectly at ease to take it up again ; for, by the 
manner in which you gentlemen now attack the starry 
heavens, it seems that there will soon remain nothing to be 

You mention that Mr. Baily intends to bring Flamsteed's 

216 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1827. 

omitted stars into a Catalogue ; I send you a few errata, as I 
am not sure of having carried them into the copy I left with 
the three volumes of Flamsteed's works. And in the list of 
your father's MS. papers, in the packet " Auxiliary Article," 
is a Catalogue of omitted stars arranged in order of E. A. (a 
copy of one which I gave to Dr. Maskelyne in 1789). 
This, may perhaps save some trouble to Mr. B. in arranging 

Some time ago Count Kupfstein sent me a cop3 r of Litt- 
row's observations to look at (Part VII. of forty-three 
sheets large folio), which he publishes at the order and 
expense of the Emperor. The copy was for the University 
of Gottingeii ; but I could only admire the fine paper and 
beautiful print, as I do not understand the manner in which 
observations are made with the new invented instruments, 
for at the time I made a fortnight's visit to Greenwich, in 
1798, they had only the mural quadrant and the meridian 
passage instruments. 

I must conclude for want of time ; and, to say the truth, 
I am fatigued, for I cannot sit up for any length of time, till 
eight or nine o'clock in the evening, when I find myself 
always the most fit for society, or a little business. The 
weather has been too warm for me, and I have done 
nothing but sleep in the mornings and afternoon, and the 
worst is that everybody goes to bed between nine and ten, and 
then I have no society but those I can meet with in a novel. 
The few, few stars that I can get at out of my window only 
cause me vexation, for to look for the small ones on the 
globe my eyes will not serve me any longer. 

Tell your dear mother she must not give me the slip, for 
I will and cannot mourn for anyone more that I love. 

I remain, &c., &c., 


CHAP, vi.] Continuation of her History. 217 


Sept. 25, 1827. 


Herewith you will receive what I have called No. 1, 
which was never intended, to have met your eye as it is ; but, 
as contrary to my expectation, my No. 2 was so cordially 
received by you, I had intended to send you only an 
abridgment of it, because it contains many things which 
must be very uninteresting and almost unintelligible to you 
on account of your being unacquainted with the (then) 
manners and customs of this country, besides requiring to 
remember that my father and mother were born and 
educated some hundred and twenty years back. But I 
must send it as it is, or destroy it immediately, for I feel I 
shall now never get well enough for making any alteration 
further than running my eye over it and adding a note here 
and there where necessary. But I wish not to leave my 
memorandums any longer to the chance of falling into the 
hands of officious would-be learned ignorance, to furnish a 
paragraph in some newspaper or journal. 

I will, however, save you and myself the trouble of 
further apologising for sending you these papers, but just 
explain my reason for taking a copy of them with me. 

When I took my leave of the contents of your father's 
libraiy, it was parting from all with which rny heart and soul 
had been engaged for the best part of my life, and I could 
not withstand the temptation of carrying away with me an 
index for assisting my memory when in my reveries I should 
imagine myself to be on the spot where I took leave of all 
that had been most dear to me. 

What is contained in No. 1 I had intended for an ever- 
lasting pleasing melancholy subject for conversation with 
my brother Dietrich, if I should go back again to the place 

218 Caroline Lucretia Her sc he I. [1827. 

where I first drew my breath, and where the first twenty-two 
years of my life (from my eighth year on) had been sacrificed 
to the service of my family under the utmost self-privation 
without the least prospect or hope of future reward. Or in 
case I had died in England, it was to have been sent to D., 
for I wished him to get a more correct idea of our father 
than what I thought he had formed of that excellent being. 

He never recollected the eight years' care and attention he 
had received from his father, but for ever murmured at 
having received too scanty an education, though he had the 
same schooling we all of us had had before him. 

I ought to remember here, I suppose it was in the year 
1818, or perhaps earlier, your father wished to draw up 
the biographical memorandum you have in your possession. 
But finding himself much at a loss for the dates of the 
month, or even the year when he first arrived in England 
with his brother Jacob, I offered to bring some events to 
his recollection by telling what I remembered having passed 
at home during the two years his brother was with him, 
with the proviso not to criticize on telling my stoiy in my 
own way. But not being very positive about the exact date 
when my eldest brother returned, I wrote to my brother D. 
for the date when Jacob entered the orchestra, and found not 
to have been much out in my reckoning. And from that 
time on, your father became more settled, and could have 
recourse to the heads of his compositions, &c., &c., for the 
dates he wanted for his purpose. 

Of all that follows I do not remember to have shown 
him a single line. But as I had once begun the subject I did 
not know how or where to leave off, and went on, thinking 
my brother D. might some time or other profit by getting 
better acquainted with what had passed in our family before 
his time, and during his infancy, till the death of his father, 
which happened when D. was in his twelfth year, of which, 

CHAP. vi. ] Letter to her Nephew. 219 

from the conversation I had Avith him during the four years 
between 1809 and 1813, when last in England, I found he 
had not the least notion, or had purposely formed a very 
erroneous one. 

But in the last hope of finding in Dietrich a brother to 
whom I might communicate all my thoughts of past, pre- 
sent, and future, I saw myself disappointed the very first 
day of our travelling on land. For let me touch on what 
topic I would, he maintained the contrary, which I soon 
saw was done merely because he would allow no one to 
know anything but himself. .... Of course, about these 
papers I could never have any conversation with him nor 
anybody else, and I send them to you for your perusal, 
because I do not wish to keep them any longer, and you 
may put them in the fire after having read them over. 
Adieu, dear Nephew, believe me ever, 

Your most affectionate Aunt, 



Dec. 22, 1827. 


.... Of Dr. Olbers, I hear frequently through a sister 
and niece here at Hanover; the last was that he was 
lamenting at Captain Miiller not having brought the paper 
you_had intended for him ; the poor man, I hear, is grown 
corpulent and short-breathed, so that he cannot mount 
up to his observatory without difficulty. 

I heard from Capt. Miiller (what I had been thinking 
before) that poor Encke has not changed his situation for 
the better. I do not mean with regard to income, for I 
believe his salary is four or five thousand thalers per year, 
which is equal, or even more, than that of a Prime Minister ; 
but he has no instruments. Much is promised, but he gets 

220 Caroline Lucretia HerscheL [1828. 

nothing ; and besides, his family is settled in Gotha. It is 
a pity such a man should be obliged to be idle. 

In my last to your dear mother I wrote nearly all I had 
to say about myself, except what concerns my health, of 
which I could not give a very good account. Lately I was 
obliged to consult an oculist, but I suppose he cannot help 
me, for he has not ordered me anything. I cannot, after 
having been asleep, get my eyes open again for a consider' 
able time, this is attended with a violent headache and 
giddiness but no more of this. 

Once you were asking me if I wanted a few of my Indexes ; 
if it is not too late (as you have given up the secretaryship), 
I would be glad of a couple. N.B. A hundred copies 
were promised me as a present, and were not half of them 
received. The one I have by me, which is intended for 
you, with my corrections in it, is spoilt in the binding ; and 
I should like to give one to the Duke of Cambridge, to put 
him in mind of the little old woman who has so frequently 
been cheered by his kind attentions. 

I remain your most affectionate Aunt, 



May 9th, 1828. 

This is to be a letter of thanks,but I cannot determine 
to whom I am to allot the greatest portion of my thanks, 
to you or Miss Baldwin, for her agreeable letter of April 
15th, in which so many interesting friends and acquaint- 
ances of mine are remembered. For, believe me, my dear 
Lady H., it is ever with great reluctance I am yearly draw- 
ing on you for so considerable a sum, which in the end 
must some time or other be felt by my dear nephew ; but 
who would have thought it, that I should last so long ? but 
now I am losing strength daily, and I cannot expect to be 

CHAP, vi.] Her Annuity. 221 

long for this world. I only say this by way of putting you 
in mind that I received my annuity at the beginning of the 
first half-year, and therefore when you hear of my death all 
your care on my account must be at an end, for I leave a 
sufficient sum to defray all possible expenses attending a 
funeral, &c. 

But there is nothing grieves me more than that, at my 
leaving England, I gave myself, with all I was worth, to 
this branch of my family, believing them (from what my 
brother D. and their letters told me) as many noble-hearted 
and perfect beings as there were individuals. But though 
I am disappointed, I should not like to take back my 
promise, which could not be done without creating ill-will, 
and I am too feeble to bear up against any altercation. 

I see I have not left room for all the loves and compli- 
ments, but I beg you will give them to whoever is kind 
enough to remember, 

My dear Lady Herschel, 

Your most affectionate Sister, 


In February, 1828, Miss Herschel's services to the 
Science of Astronomy were recognized by the presen- 
tation to her of the Gold Medal of the Royal Astrono- 
mical Society. 


May 5, 1828. 


Herewith you will receive the medal, of whose award 
you will have read in the printed notice I enclosed you 
some ten days ago. My mother also begs your acceptance 
of a pair of bracelets, and begs me to thank you for your 
kind and beautiful present of needlework (which even I 

222 Caroline Lucretia Hcrsc/iel. [1828. 

could admire), and for the mettivursts (which I fully com- 
prehended, and part of which I still comprehend, having 
regaled on one for breakfast). My mother and cousin are 
quite well, and desire their best love. Slough stands where 
it did, and star-gazing goes on well. I have just erected a 
new instrument (Mr. South's ci-devant large equatorial), 

and you shall hear from time to time what is doing 

Your affectionate Nephew, 


The presentation of the medal is the natural duty 
of the president of the society, but as Mr. Herschel 
held that office on this occasion, and had with charac- 
teristic modesty "resisted," as he confesses, the pro- 
posed honour, the following supplemental address was 
delivered by Mr. South, the vice-president, who pre- 
sented the medal to Miss Herschel through her 
nephew. It is an eloquent and not unworthy tribute, 
and an interesting memorial of the esteem in which 
she was held by the most distinguished body of 
scientific men in the kingdom. 

Address to the Astronomical Society, by J. South, Esq., on 
presenting the Honorary Medal to Miss C. Herschel, at 
its Eighth General Meeting, February 8th, 1828. 

Our excellent president, in his address, has informed 
you of the appropriation of two of your gold medals since 
our last anniversary : a third, however, has been decreed 
by your council; and when it is known that Miss Caroline 
Herschel is the individual to whom it stands adjudged, it is 
not difficult to determine why the president has avoided the 
slightest allusion to it. 

CHAP, vi.] Gold Medal of Astronomical Society. 223 

But that your Council has not selected one from the many 
of its members infinitely more competent to do justice to 
the transcendent merits of that illustrious lady is most 
assuredly matter of regret. I must therefore throw myself 
upon your indulgence, hoping that the goodness of the cause 
may in some measure compensate for the inability of its 

The labours of Miss Herschel are so intimately connected 
with, and are generally so dependent upon, those of her 
illustrious brother, that an investigation of the latter is 
absolutely necessary ere we can form the most remote idea 
of the extent of the former. But when it is considered that 
Sir W. Herschel's contributions to astronomical science 
occupy sixty-seven memoirs, communicated from time to 
time to the Royal Society, and embrace a period of forty 
years, it will not be expected that I should enter into their 
discussion. To the Philosophical Transactions I must 
refer you, and shall content myself with the hasty mention 
of some of her more immediate claims to the distinction 
now conferred. To deliver an eulogy (however deserved) 
upon his memory is not the purpose for which I am placed 

His first catalogue of new nebulce and clusters of stars, 
amounting in number to one thousand, was made from 
observations with the twenty-foot reflector in the years 
1783, 1784, and 1785. A second thousand was furnished 
by means of the same instrument in 1785, 1786, 1787, and 
1788; while the places of 500 others were discovered 
between 1788 and 1802. But when we have thus enume- 
rated the results obtained in the course of sweeps with this 
instrument, and taken into consideration the extent and 
variety of the other observations which were at the same 
time in progress, a most important part yet remains untold. 
Who participated in his toils ? Who braved with him the 

224 Caroline Lucretia HerscheL [1828 

inclemency of the weather ? Who shared his privations ? 
A female. Who was she ? His sister. Miss Herschel it 
was who by night acted as his amanuensis : she it was whose 
pen conveyed to paper his observations as they issued from 
his lips ; she it w T as who noted the right ascensions and polar 
distances of the objects observed; she it was who, having 
passed the night near the instrument, took the rough manu- 
scripts to her cottage at the dawn of day and produced a 
fair copy of the night's work on the following morning ; she 
it was who planned the labour of each succeeding night; 
she it was who reduced every observation, made every cal- 
culation ; she it was who arranged everything in systematic 
order; and she it was who helped him to obtain his imperish- 
able name. 

But her claims to our gratitude end not here ; as an 
original observer she demands, and I am sure she has, our 
unfeigned thanks. Occasionally her immediate attendance 
during the observations could be dispensed with. Did 
she pass the night in repose ? No such thing : wherever 
her brother was, there you were sure to find her. A 
sweeper planted on the lawn became her object of amuse- 
ment ; but her amusements were of the higher order, and to 
them we stand indebted for the discovery of the comet of 
1786, of the comet of 1788, of the comet of 1791, of the 
comet of 1793, and of the comet of 1795, since rendered 
familiar to us by the remarkable discovery of Encke. Many 
also of the nebulae contained in Sir W. Herschel's catalogues 
were detected by her during these hours of enjoyment. 
Indeed, in looking at the joint labours of these extraordi- 
nary personages, we scarcely know whether most to admire 
the intellectual power of the brother, or the unconquerable 
industry of the sister. 

In the year 1797 she presented to the Eoyal Society a 
Catalogue of 560 stars taken from Flanisteed's observations, 

CHAP, vi.] Her Astronomical Labozirs. 225 

and not inserted in the British Catalogue, together with a 
collection of errata that should be noticed in the same 

Shortly after the death of her brother, Miss Herschel 
returned to Hanover. Unwilling, however, to relinquish 
her astronomical labours whilst anything useful presented 
itself, she undertook and completed the laborious reduction 
of the places of 2,500 nebula, to the 1st of January, 1800, 
presenting in one view the results of all Sir William 
Herschel's observations on those bodies, thus bringing to a 
close half a century spent in astronomical labour. 

For this more immediately, and to mark their estimation 
of services rendered during a whole life to astronomy, your 
Council resolved to confer on her the distinction of a medal 
of this Society. The peculiarity of our President's situa- 
tion, however, and the earnest manner in which the feelings 
naturally arising from it were urged when the subject was 
first brought forward, caused your Council to pause, and 
waive on that occasion the actual passing their proposed 
vote. The discussion was, however, renewed on Monday 
last, and, although there was every disposition to meet the 
President's wishes, still under a conviction that the actual 
doing so would have been a dereliction of public duty, it was 

Resolved unanimously, " That a Gold Medal of this 
Society be given to Miss Caroline Herschel, for her recent 
reduction, to January, 1800, of the Nebule discovered by 
her illustrious brother, which may be considered as the com- 
pletion of a series of exertions probably unparalleled either 
in magnitude or importance in the annals of astronomical 
labour." This vote I am sure every one whom I have the 
honour to address will most heartily confirm. 

Mr. Herschel, in the name of the Astronomical Society 
of London, I present this medal to your illustrious aunt. 
In transmitting it to her, assure her that since the founda- 


226 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1828. 

tion of this Society, no one has been adjudged which has 
been earned by services such as hers. Convey to her our 
unfeigned regret that she is not resident amongst us ; and 
join to it our wishes, nay our prayers, that as her former 
days have been glorious, so her future may be happy.* 

Extract from the Report of the Council of the Astrono- 
mical Society to the Annual Meeting, Feb. 13, 1835. t 

" Your Council has no small pleasure in recommending 
that the names of two ladies, distinguished in different 
walks of astronomy, be placed on the list of honorary mem- 
bers. On the propriety of such a step, in an astronomical 
point of view, there can be but one voice ; and your Council 
is of opinion that the time is gone by when either feeling or 
prejudice, by whichever name it may be proper to call it, 
should be allowed to interfere with the payment of a well- 
earned tribute of respect. Your Council has hitherto felt 
that, whatever might be its own sentiment on the subject, 
or however able and willing it might be to defend such a 
measure, it had no right to place the name of a lady in a 
position the propriety of which might be contested, though 
upon what it might consider narrow grounds and false 
principles. But your Council has no fear that such a dif- 
ference couM now take place between any men whose 
opinion could avail to guide that of society at large ; and, 
abandoning compliment on the one hand, and false delicacy 

* The author of this hasty address feels no slight gratification in having 
been present on the 1st June, 1821, at the last observations with the twenty- 
foot reflector, in which Miss Herschel was engaged. He remembers also, not 
without regret, but with becoming gratitude, that the mirror used for his im- 
provement, on the occasion was inserted, for the last time, in the tube, by 
the hands of Sir "William Herschel. Memoirs Astronomical Society, Vol. III., 
p. 409. 

+ This extract, as it bears on the subject of the recognition of Miss Her- 
chel's labours, is inserted here, though somewhat before its time. 

CHAP, vi.] An Hon. Member of the R. A. Society. 227 

on the other, submits, that while the tests of astronomical 
merit should in no case be applied to the works of a woman 
less severely than to those of a man, the sex of the former 
should no longer be an obstacle to her receiving any ac- 
knowledgment which might be held due to the latter. And 
your Council therefore recommends this meeting to add to 
the list of honorary members the names of Miss Caroline 
Herschel and Mrs. Somerville, of whose astronomical know- 
ledge, and of the utility of the ends to which it has been 
applied, it is not necessary to recount the proofs " * 

May 28th, 1828. 

.... Before this reaches you, you will have got it 
[the medal]. Pray let me be well understood on one point. 
It was none of my doings. I resisted strenuously. Indeed, 
being in the situation I actually hold,t I could do no 
otherwise. The Society have done well. I think they 
might have done letter, but my voice was neither asked 
nor listened to. 

I ought to mention that it became a matter of discussion 
at the Royal Society whether one of the Royal medals for 
the year should not be adjudged to you, but the rule limiting 
the time within which those medals must be granted being 
precise, it could not be done without a violation of principle. 

I have sent by Mr. G. a few copies of a work of mine on 
Light, for you to distribute. I shall by the next oppor- 
tunity (possibly by this} send some copies of a third cata- 
logue of double stars, completing the first 1,000. The 
nebula? are advancing rapidly ; I have got about 1,500 re- 

Your affectionate nephew, 


* " Motions were then made for passing these several resolutions, and the 
same were carried unanimously." Monthly Notices, vol. iii. p. 91. 

f Of President. 


228 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1S28. 


June 3, 1828. 

And I must once more repeat my thanks to you (and 
perhaps to Mr. South) for thinking so well of me as to 
exert yourselves for having the great and undeserved and 

unexpected honour of a medal bestowed on me 

Here I was interrupted, and all along of the medal ; for 
my friends are all coining to congratulate me, and leave me 
no time to think of what to say of myself; but I will soon 
write again, and for the present will only beg that you (or 
Miss Baldwin, for I dare say she knows,) will give me the 
history of the medal, such as whose head it is which is on 
the one side ? (I know who it is like very well) and if the 
impression is to be permanent ? 

Next, I wish to know if you, or the Royal Society, or 
the Observatory at Greenwich (the latter I think must be) 
are in communication with the Imperial astronomer Littrow ? 
If you have seen any of the publications which are yearly 
printed at the expense of the Emperor, I could wish, if it 
is not too much trouble to you, to know what you think of 
the work ; because Count Eupfstein, Charge d' Affaires, sent 
me the copy (which was to go to Gottingen) to look at, and 
since then he wants my opinion about it. And I know 
no more about it than that it is a book printed on fine 
paper, large folio, of 195 pages, with seven plates of the 
New Observatory made out of the old one, built at the 
top of the seventh story of the University at Vienna, 
a description of the store of instruments, thirty-five 
articles including rules, two spirit-levels and a case of 
drawing instruments ; tables of precession, aberration, and 
nutation of ninety-four of the principal stars for the 

CHAP, vi.] Thanks for Bracelets. 229 

beginning of the year 1835 ; but I forgot the rest ; but so 
much I remember, that the whole book is filled with these 
ninety-four stars, of which I cannot comprehend the use, but 
I say nothing about it, and hum and ha when the good man 
begins to talk about it. Dear nephew, adieu ! 

I am, your affectionate aunt, 


I have but just time to thank my dear Lady Herschel, in 
the first place of giving me the great pleasure of seeing her 
own handwriting once more, which to me continues much 
plainer than all the beautiful new-fashioned Italian hands. 
Secondly, I return my best thanks for the beautiful brace- 
lets ; I am going to let them be admired this evening, as I 
am obliged (though very unwell) to go to a tea-party, and it 
will be no small trouble to me to make myself fine enough 
for not disgracing your present. 

When next I write I hope I shall not be hurried so, and 
be able to tell you how it goes here at Hanover. Last week 
I heard five songs by Madame Catalani at the theatre here ; 
but of this, more in my next. 

With many compliments to Miss B., 

Believe me, your most affectionate sister, 



June 23, 1828. 


I have but just time to write a few lines to accom- 
pany the Journals Nos. II. and III., therefore I must beg 
you to excuse the unconnected manner in which I am 
writing, for it must require some time before I, and many a 
one beside me, will recover from the fright we were put in 
on the 21st, at three o'clock in the afternoon, by a thunder- 

230 Caroline Lucretia HersckeL [1828. 

storm, accompanied with a shower of hail of such an un- 
common size as weighing three quarters of a pound ; some 
speak of still larger. I, of course, could only judge of 
them at a distance by the look, as my carpet was covered by 
them of all sizes and shapes ; I noticed one in particular 
of the form of a bottle of india-rubber (as it looks before 
the neck is cut off), but was at the time incapable of going 
near enough, for I was obliged to keep out of the direction 
where they entered, forcing the fragments of glass to my 
sofa (where I was just going to take my solitary dinner) at 
the opposite end of the room, which is twenty-one feet 
distant from the window. The houses look deplorable, and 
the streets are still glittering with powdered glass. Ex- 
presses were sent instantly by the magistrates in all direc- 
tions to the neighbouring towns and glass-houses for work- 
men and materials. I have been fortunate enough to get 
my lodging-room mended after lying only two nights without 
anything but a shutter. 

Our gardens and country houses about Hanover have 
had the same fate. This happened the day before a Volks 
Fest, which the Hanoverian Burgers keep for three days 
yearly, and for which all preparations were made, and is 
now by many kept with a heavy heart. 

But I must not lose this opportunity of mentioning what 
I forgot in my last, which is to beg you will (when I am no 
more) take my medal under your protection, and give it a 
place among those you have of your father's and your own. 
I will take care that it shall be delivered to you along with 
those books which I keep yet as companions, though it is 
seldom I can look into them, for most of my time I am 
obliged to waste in lying on the sofa, where I try to for- 
get myself by reading nonsense, over which I soon go to 

I have the two dullest months before me, for the plays 

CHAP, vi.] About the Medal. 231 

and concerts do not begin again till autumn ; all families are 
either gone to the baths or at their villas, &c. IVly friends 
are all some dozen years younger than myself, and I cannot 
always, or but seldom, accept their invitations. Haupt- 
mann Miiller took twice tea with me since Christmas. He 
heard from Encke that a great astronomical meeting was to 
take place at Berlin, to which Mr. South had been invited ; 
if there should be any truth in this, and that you and Mr. 
South were inseparables, I might hope to see you once more ; 
but I must not think of anything at the distance, agitations 
I cannot bear any longer, I only exist by attempting to be 
indifferent about all human events, and hardly anything 
can yet give me pleasure but to hear that you, my dear 
nephew, and those who are dear to you, are well and happy. 

Yours very affectionately, 



Aug. 21, 1828. 


What you tell me in the short note dated May 24th, 
which accompanied the three copies of my Index, concern- 
ing the medal, has completely put me out of humour with 
the same ; for to say the truth, I felt from the first more 
shocked than gratified by that singular distinction, for I 
know too well how dangerous it is for women to draw too 
much notice on themselves. And the little pleasure I felt 
at the receipt of the few lines by your hands, was entirely 
owing to the belief that what was done was both with 
your approbation and according to your recommendation. 
Throughout my long-spent life I have not been used or had 
any desire of having public honours bestowed on me ; and 

232 Caroline Lucretia, HerscheL [1828. 

now I have but one wish, that I may take your good opinion 
with me into my grave. 

I have no time or inclination to think much on this sub- 
ject, else I could say a great deal about the clumsy speech of 
the V. P. Whoever says too much of me says too little of 
your father ! and only can cause me uneasiness. 

Mr. South I have seen only twice, or perhaps three 
times, and that was in yours and your dear father's presence, 
and to all conversation between you and Mr. South I 
could only be a listener, and, seeing you so well agree 
together I congratulated myself on your having found a 
friend possessing much knowledge of what passes in com- 
mon life, of which a young and deep mathematician and 
philosopher has had no time of laying in a great stock. 

I heard you would make a visit to Struve at Dorp at 
this summer together, and I concluded I should then have 
had a call on the way home. But on that account I feel 
now relieved from the painful prospect of a final parting 
from you once more, though it will cost me many melan- 
choly hours to bring that to paper which I yet wish for 
you to know. But I am too much destroyed at present 
to explain myself any further, and will only say that by 
the Michaelmas messenger I will send every scrap of 
paper which I have yet kept solely for my amusement and 
for assisting my memory. You may look them over at 
some leisure [time] and then destroy them ; for I go not 
one night to bed but thinking it may be the last of my 

life I have a numerous and valuable acquaintance, 

but I keep all my difficulties to myself, for I was ever care- 
ful not to injure a relation, or one with whom I am con- 
nected, in the opinion of others, by saying what I think of 

I must prepare to pay a visit at the villa of a friend 

CHAP, vi.] On her Diary. 233 

of mine where I have twice this summer refused an in- 

So, God bless you, my dearest nephew, and be assured 
of my affectionate regard. 



LONDON, Dec. 9, 1828. 

I received your most valuable diary and all the papers 
you sent me by Mr. Goltermann quite safe, and I most sin- 
cerely thank you for them. You speak of " exposing your- 
self " by presenting them to me, but I am so far from con- 
sidering it in that light, that I feel proud to possess them, 
and if anything could increase the regard and esteem I 
entertain for their writer, it would have been their perusal. 
Your promised Christinas "scraps and lucubrations " will 
not be less welcome. 

The Journals also came safe and well to hand, but in the 
series you have sent me I cannot find that for December, 
1827, which prevents my binding up the set. If you can 
procure this and enclose it with the next, I shall be very 

I trust to my cousin Mary for telling you all the news of 
family matters. Astronomy goes on pretty well. My 
sweeps accumulate. I am very sorry that anything I said 
should have put you out of humour with the medal, which 
was a well-merited distinction, and so far as the Astrono- 
mical Society is concerned, most honourably conferred. All 
voices are agreed on that, and on the propriety of the 
thing, so pray don't suffer yourself to be put out of conceit 
with it by my nonsense, which after all only went to the 
manner, not the matter. Our friend S. means well, but 
wants discretion. 

234 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1829. 



Jan. 14, 1829. 

I received your two letters at once, and I cannot 
enough thank you for the kind consideration which prompted 
your offer, for I will not yet call it your gift, as I cannot 
really consent to such a robbery. If you are bent on giving 
me something truly valuable infinitely more so than money, 
which (though I am not rich, and am now less so by some 
annual hundreds than I was, and am about voluntarily * to 
incur a still further diminution of income) yet, thank God, 
I am in want of nothing and would rather spare to you than let 
you spare to me. But if you want to give me what I shall really 
prize highly, let it be your portrait in oils of the size of my 
father's. Let me send back the money, and employ part of 
it in engaging a good Hanoverian artist to paint it. You 
often tell me your time hangs heavy, so here I am furnish- 
ing you with a refuge from ennui, and when you know how 
much pleasure it will give me to see your likeness hanging 
by my father's, and that you can without inconvenience or 
difficulty (and now without expense) do it, I entreat you not 
to refuse. I know what you will urge against it, but you 
undervalue yourself and your own merits so much that I 
will not allow it any weight. 

My mother is ill with the gout, but I hope it is not 
going to be a severe fit, as she is already on the mend. 
Your affectionate nephew, 



March 3, 1829. 


I long to congratulate you on the happy occasion of 

* An allusion to his approaching marriage, when he would resign his 

CHAP, vi.] On her Nephew's marriage. 235 

seeing your dear son so happily settled, but am almost 
afraid your late illness .... may have prevented you 
from being present at the performance of the ceremony on 
which the future happiness of my dear nephew is so much 

I must beg you will thank Miss B. for sparing me so much 
of her time by her circumstantial accounts of the interesting 
event, and hope she will continue to write, though I am not 
able to answer punctually, for I am not free from pain for 
one hour out of the twenty-four, and so it has been for a 
long time past with me. N.B. She mentions my nephew 
having written me a letter informing me of his future hap- 
piness, but such I have not received, and perhaps he may 
only have intended it, or it is lost 

The following hint is only to you as a dear sister, for as 
such I now know you : 

All I am possessed of is looked upon as their own, when 
I am gone; the disposal of my brother's picture is even 
denied me it hangs in Mrs. H.'s drawing-room, where a 
set of old women play cards under it on her club day. . . . 

I have no great matters to leave, a few articles of furni- 
ture which I had the trouble to provide myself with (though 
I paid for furnished lodgings), would not produce a capital if 
sold. It is only pictures, books, telescopes, globes, &c., I 
regret should come into hands of those who know not the value 
of them ; but Miss Beckedorff will take my sweeper under 

her protection ; but enough of this I hope, above 

all, to have soon the pleasure to hear that you will hold out 
with me now that we are entering on our eightieth year. 

But as long as God pleases I shall remain 

Your most affectionate sister, 


236 Caroline Lucretia HerscheL [1829. 


March 3, 1829. 


I have spent four days in vain endeavours to gain 
composure enough to give you an idea of the joyful sensation 
Miss B.'s (and your P.S.) letter of February 5th has caused 
me. But I can at this present moment find no words which 
would better express my happiness than those which escaped 
in exclamation from my lips, according to Simeon. See St. 
Luke, cap. ii., v. 29 : " Lord, now lettest thou thy servant 
depart in peace ! " 

I have now some hopes of passing the few remainder of 
my days in as much comfort as the separation from the land 
where I spent the greatest portion of my life, and from all 
those which are most dear to me, can admit. For from the 
description Miss B. has given me of the dear young lady of 
your choice, I am confident my dear nephew's future happi- 
ness is now established. 

I beg you will give my love to your dear lady, and best 
regards to all your new connections where they are due in the 
best terms you can think of, for I am at present too unwell 
for writing all I could wish to say. 

I have suffered much during this severe winter, and have 
not been able to leave my habitation above three or four 
times for the last three months, and feel, moreover, much 
fatigued by sitting eight times within the last ten days to 
Professor Tielemann for having my picture taken, which he 
did at my apartment, and now he has taken it home to 
finish. You will receive it with the Easter messenger, but 

I must send it without frame I must conclude, for 

I wish to say a few words to your dear mother. It is now 
between eleven and twelve, and perhaps you are at this 
very moment receiving the blessing of Dr. Jennings, in 

CHAP, vi.] Her Portrait. 237 

which I most fervently join by saying, " God bless you 
both ! " 

Your happy and affectionate aunt, 



March 30, 1829. 


I have received rny picture ; by the enclosed card 

you will see the name of the artist Whatever you 

may think about my looking so young, I cannot help ; for 
two of the days I was sitting to him, I received the agree- 
able news from England one day Lady H.'s likeness was 
thrown in my lap (Mr. Tielemann taking it out of the box), 
and four days after, the account of your approaching happi- 
ness arrived. No wonder I became a dozen years younger 
all at once. I was sitting about seven hours in so many 
days in my own apartments ; but there is but one voice, 
that the picture looks life itself. 


Xov. 16, 1829. 

I was unwilling to be troublesome with a repetition of 
the detail of my infirmities, to which I have of late to add 
cramps and rheumatic complaints, which rob me of many 
hours' sleep and the usual nimbleness in walking, which has 
hitherto gained me the admiration of all who know me ; 
but the good folks are not aware of the arts I make use of, 
which consist in never leaving my rooms in the daytime, 
except I am able to trip it along as if nothing were the 

I am glad you are removed again to Kensington, where 

238 Caroline Liicretia Herschel. [1S2&. 

you are within a few hours' reach of all who are dear to you 
(a blessing I never enjoyed throughout all the years of ray 
long life). But I must get in another strain; only when I 
am writing to you (in particular) I cannot help comparing 
the country in which I have lived so long, with this in 
which I must end my days, and which is totally changed 
since I left it, and not one alive that I knew formerly, 
except my dear Mrs. Beckedorff ; through her means I have, 
however, been introduced to many valuable ladies of rank 
and amiable qualities, but to keep up their acquaintance I 
am obliged to sacrifice my ease and required quiet, which I 
have still vanity enough to do sometimes. 

A fortnight ago I paid my respects to the Landgrafin of 
Hesse-Homburg (who looks younger and handsomer than 
when we saw her as a bride at Slough the day before she 
left Windsor); it was by her desire I made the visit, and I 
was honoured with a salute at parting, by way of showing 
we were friends (as she was pleased to say), and a desire to- 
repeat my visit soon. 

.... I wish also to know on what subject the late- 
Alex. Stewart may have wrote, for that he was an author I 
know, but I never saw any of his works and might most 
likely not have understood them, for you know I had no- 
time to read anything for my improvement, but was obliged 
to be poring for ever over astronomical tables and cata- 
logues; &c. 

Another thing I wish Miss B. to inform me of. The 
30th November the Royal Society opens with choosing their 
President and Council ; I wish for a list of their names, and 
likewise of the next change of the Astronomical Society of 
London. But do not wonder at my being so inquisitive 
about these things. I cannot think of anything else which 
could interest me more than to see the names of learned 
men on paper, especially when I see any of those I have 

CHAP, vi.] Letters. 239 

known among them. Besides, as in December our concerts 
begin, where the Duke of Cambridge, on seeing me, gene- 
rally makes some inquiry after nay nephew and family, and 
what is going on in the philosophical world, one does not 
always like to stand with one's mouth open, or to say I 
cannot tell ! . . . . 

Mrs. and Miss Beckedorff send their kind love 

Mr. Q., 63, he owns himself, marries a young lady in her 
teens, but she owns 23 ; she could not withstand his pretty 
equipage. He is grown very old and nasty, and good for 
nothing but to injure his children and grand-children. 
God be with you, niy dear Lady H. 

Believe me your most affectionate sister, 



HANOVER, January 11, 1830. 

I am sorry it was not in my power to send a letter 
by way of announcing the Journals, &c., which yon will, I 
hope, receive soon by the messenger who left Hanover the 
27th of December. I have been very ill and confined to 
my room now three weeks, but it seems der Wiirg Engel* ist 
noch einmal voriiber gegangen, at which I am very glad, 
because I wish to be a little better prepared for making my 
exit than I am at present. 

I intend to amuse myself between this and Easter with 
collecting and packing up those books which were to be 
sent to you after my death, and perhaps if I have withstood 
this terrible winter I may hav.e the pleasure of hearing that 
you have received them safe, and live in the enjoyment of a 
few months more, in which I hope to hear of the happy 
increase to your family, and prosperity in general. 

So I am to be godmother ! with all my heart ! I am now 
* The Destroying Angel has passed away. 

240 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. 

so enured to receiving honours in my old age, that I take 

them all upon me without blushing 

Jan. IZth. No letter for me yet! and no news, excpet 
that the Landgrafin of Hesse-Homburg sent me yesterday a 
very handsome fur mantle to wear when I go to the play, 
with a message that if I did not put it on, by way of saving 
it, the next thing she sent me would be a rod. I am accused 
of having been clothed too thin, for which I have been suf- 
fering these last three weeks I will give my opinion, 

and in style of a critic, and you will find yourself not to 
come off quite free from blame. You have represented me 
as a goddess, whereas I have done nothing but what I 
believe to be right; and wherever I did wrong, it was 
because I knew no better ! 


HANOVER, June 18, 1830. 

This letter will go by to-day's post, which I believe 
is the last before the messenger leaves Hanover, and Lega- 
tions Bath Haase has promised to direct the box for me, so 
that it is to be called for at Mr. Goltermann's either by 
yourself, or somebody who will look to it, that it may come 
safely to your hands. And I will give you here a list of 
the contents of the box, by which you will see that I must 
be very anxious till I know that it is safely come to hand, 
especially as I was obliged to have the box made very slight 
on account of saving size and weight, 
Contents : 

Wollaston's Catalogue. 

Bode's Catalogue. 

My Index to Flamsteed's Observations. 

Herschel's and South's Observations, bound in red 

CHAP, vi.] A Box of Gifts. 241 

Logarithmic Tables by Taylor. 

Seventy-two Papers of your father's, in five volumes. 

The parcel directed for my niece contains ornaments 
which I am afraid will soon be wanted for a general mourn- 
ing, but I am told they may be worn at any time. Miss 
Beckedorff chose them for me ; my direction was they should 
be pretty, and not of English manufacture, and not larger 
than Avhat might be put in the space which I showed her. 
I am only sorry I could not find anything that might please 
your dear mother, for, to judge by myself, we want now only 
ease, quiet, and patience to bear the pains and infirmities 
attendant on our age ; and we are too far asunder for doing 
more than wishing one another the above-mentioned quali- 

I had intended to have sent my medal along with the 
books, but since you have presented me with the handsome 
miniature of your dear Margaretta, from which I cannot 
part as long as I live, I have mentioned already to Dr. 
Groskopff that the medal, miniature, and my gold watch 
[the gift of her grandfather in 1774], are to be sent to my 

grand-niece and namesake, C. H. 


I do not like to send empty paper, but I must. Time 
falls short, and I am tired already with the thought of the 
long walk I have to take to cany this letter, for I must see 
Haase once more, and it is attended with great difficulty to 
get so heavy a box over at present. 

God bless you, dear nephew, 

Says your affectionate aunt, 


242 Caroline Liicretia Herschel. [isso-issi. 


HANOVER, Oct. 27, 1830. 

I see by my memorandum-book that I sent a letter 
to your dear mother on the 20th August, partly in answer 
to one of Miss Baldwin's, which contained the melancholy 
account of Miss Isabella [Stewart's] dangerous state of 
health. I have ever since been very uneasy, and wishing 
for more cheering information, because I know what a 
drawback it would be on the happiness of all your dear 
connection if you should lose her, besides the interruption 
it must cause in the hitherto cheerful correspondence in 
which even my dear niece took the pen to join in affording 
me the only comfort I am yet capable of receiving 

Tell your dear Margaret that the very day on which the 
letter arrived, in which she requested some hair, I sent for 
the hair-dresser and made him cut off all which was useless 
to me, leaving plenty for a toupee and a little curl in the 
poll. But I repented not having kept a few out of the 
plait, which I might have sent in a letter, as I understand it 
is designed for a talisman against the evils of this hurly- 
burlying world. But I consoled myself with the thoughts 
that no harm could possibly assail the dear little creature as 
long as she is under the care of her affectionate and excel- 
lent mother, leaving a loving father out of the account. 

Dr. Groskopff has been zum Bitter ernannt by his present 
Majesty. So was Dr. Miikry last week. If all is betitled 
in England and Germany, why is not my nephew, J. EL, a 
lord, or a wycount at least (query) ? General Komarzewsky 
used to say to your father, Why does not he (meaning King 
George III.) make you Duke of Slough ? 

CHAP, vi.] Her Nephews Book. 243 


March, 1831. 


If it was not high time to congratulate you 011 your 
birthday of which I most heartily wish you may enjoy 
many returns in uninterrupted and increasing happiness I 
might have still deferred to thank you for your kind letter 
and the valuable present of your book. I intend to follow 
your mother's example to read it " from end to end," which 
I was hitherto not able to do on account of my dim eyes ; 
but now the days are getting longer I think I see better, 
and to judge by the few pages I have read, that so far from 
making me go to sleep, it will be an antidote against a 
propensity for doing so in the daytime. 

I much regret my inability to acknowledge my dear 
niece's letter in such a manner as might encourage a corre- 
spondence with me, but it is difficult to write in a cheerful 
strain when one is continually in the dismals. I do all I 
can to keep up my spirits under a daily increase of my in- 
firmities, and have been best part of the winter confined to 
my rooms. My complaint is incurable, for it is a decay of 
nature, and nine days after your birthday I am eighty-one. 
What a shocking idea it is to be decaying ! decaying ! But 
never mind if I am decaying here, there will be, as Mrs. 
Maskelyne once was comforting me (on observing my grow- 
ing lean), " the less corruption in my grave ! " 

22?i<i. Some weeks ago I wrote as above, which I in- 
tended as a preface to my dying speech, with intention to 

give you a few hints concerning , and indeed I may say 

of all my German relations, except the Knipping family. 
If I did not fear that some of them would, after my decease, 
introduce themselves as troublesome correspondents to you, 
I would rather write about something else just now, and 
indeed I had better drop the subject, for you will know, I 

244 Caroline Liter etia Herschel. 

suppose, how to rid yourself of a pestering fool by answering 
coolly, or not at all. 

23rd, afternoon. Yesterday I was interrupted again, and 
the whole morning of the present, which I had intended to 
spend with you at Slough, has again been taken up with 
gabbling with my radical servant. But the day after Easter 
I get another, and I hope I shall have better luck ; but till 
then I am not mistress of my time, therefore will hasten to 
inform you that Mrs. Beckedorif is packing up a parcel for 

me, which is going from here the day after Easter 

The packet contains a tablecloth, with twelve napkins (the 
cloth is eight yards long, Mrs. B. says), which I hope my 
dear niece will do me the pleasure to accept as a remem- 
brance of her old aunt. 

Your book * I have read as far as page 150, and met with 
nothing but what I clearly can comprehend, and promise 
myself much pleasure in reading the rest, which hitherto I 
have been prevented to do by being continually interrupted, 
and besides not being able to read many pages at a time 
before the lines run one into another. 

My dear niece said in her letter to me your book would 
cause a sensation, and so it has, as I hear from all quarters. 
I am told it has been translated into German from a, French 
translation, and much [all in admiration] is appearing in 
Gelehrten Anzergen, which I have not yet been able to get 
a sight of. .... I must give over and defer writing tih 1 I 
am provided with pen, ink, and paper. The first thing my 
radical servant did when she came to me was to break the 
bottle [containing] the ink of my own making, which was to 

have lasted me all my life-time First and foremost, 

give my love to your dear mother, and believe me, ever your 
most affectionate aunt, 


* Discourse on the study of Natural Philosophy. 

CHAP. vi. j Letter to her Niece. 245 


HANOVEE, May 14, 1831. 

! my dearest niece, where shall I find words which can 
express my thanks to you for writing me such an interesting 
letter, at a moment when you were suffering from indis- 
position ! 


May 18tJi. Dear niece, how are you now ? I hope so far 
well enough to read what I think necessary to say in answer 
to yours of May 2nd. I was glad to see that you think the 
table-linen pretty, but I tremble on seeing that you puzzle 
yourself about sending me anything in return. Nothing 
would distress me more than receiving anything from 
England besides such dear letters as I have hitherto been 
blessed with, for I am provided with even more than is 
necessary to appear in the best circle of society, whenever 
my feebleness will permit me to go from home, and I feel no 
small regret at leaving so many good things among those 
who do not want it, or ever cared for me. Now, this is once 
for all ! and you have nothing to do but to go by what dear 
Herschel says he knows me, I see, better than I thought 
he did. 

1 have something to remark about what you call my 
letters, which were to be deposited in the letter case. I 
was in hopes you would have thrown away such incoherent 
stuff, as I generally write in a hurry at those moments when 
I am sick for want of knowing how it looks at home, and 
not to let it rise in judgment against my, perhaps, bad 
grammar, bad spelling, &c., for to the very last I must feel 
myself walking on uncertain grounds, having been obliged 
to learn too much without any one thing thoroughly ; for 
my dear brother William was my only teacher, and we began 
generally with what we should have ended ; he, supposing 

246 Caroline Litcretia, Herschel. 

I knew all that went before. Perhaps I might have done 
so once, but my memory he used to compare with sand, in 
which eveiything could be inscribed with ease, but as easily 
effaced. Some time hence you will see a book* in which I 
transcribed such lessons as my brother was obliged to give 
me at such times when I was to set about some calculations 
of which I knew not much about. I shall this summer 
collect every scrap of that kind some written by my 
brother, and some penned down as they flowed from his 
lips, and some even incomplete, which were intended to be 
given more correct when at leisure. I bought a very hand- 
some portfolio for this purpose, and had my nephew's new 
seal engraved upon the lock. 

I should not have thought of troubling my dear nephew 
or you with looking over these fragments, but I cannot part 
with remembrances of times long gone bj*, so long as life is 
in me ; but for fear I should not have at the last moment 
the power of burning them, I will keep them ready for being 
sent off to Slough, for nothing of the kind shall be seen by 
unhallowed eyes 


HANOVER, June 4, 1831. 

Just now I received yours of May 22nd, and the next 
post will not go from here till the 7th, and I wish the wind 
may be favourable that you may be soon made easy about 
the 50, for which I beg you will, according to custom, give 
the above receipt to your dear mother. And you may as 
well add my heartfelt thanks ; for what good can it do 
troubling her with my letters, knowing the weakness in her 
hands will not permit her answering them 

* See p. 72, 1786. 

CHAP, vi.] Her Grave. Paganini. 247 

.... I have laid apart for every possible expense which 
can occur at my exit. Six years ago I had a vault built in 
the spot where my parents rest. The ground is mine 
auf ewig (for ever). 

You have made me completely happy for some time with 
the account you sent me of the double stars ; but it vexes 
me more and more that in this abominable city there is no 
one who is capable of partaking in the joy I feel on this 
revival of your father's name. His observations on double 
stars were from first to last the most interesting subject ; he 
never lost sight of it in his papers on the construction of 
the heavens, &c. And I cannot help lamenting that he 
could not take to his grave with him the satisfaction I feel 
at present at seeing his son doing him so ample justice by 
endeavouring to perfect what he could only begin 


HAXOVER, August 11, 1831. 

.... I wish Paganini may make some stay yet in 
England, that you, or my nephew at least, may hear him. 
The English cannot be more frantic about him than the 
Hanoverians were. He filled our play-house twice at 
double price, and though some part of the orchestra had 
been thrown into parquet, still gentlemen were scattered 
among the lamps and squeezed in among the performers on 
the stage. You will think me the maddest of the mad 
when I tell you that, after spending three parts of each day 
in pain and misery, I make one of the audience twice a 
week, if possibly I can hold up my head ; for then I am lulled 
into forgetfulness of my severed situation from all what was 
or is still dear to me, and amuse myself sometimes with 
having my vanity tickled by the notice which is taken of my 
being or not being present. In The Sun of July 13 is a 

248 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [issi. 

description of Paganini's face and looks, which I could not 
have given better myself after having had some conversation 
with him (through an interpreter) ; on coming one evening 
at the end of a play out of my box, I found some gentlemen 
waiting to introduce him to me, which I believe was partly 
done to give the people an opportunity to see him. 

I am reading all the Parliamentary speeches as given in 
The Sun, and there I meet with some excellent ones by a 
Sir James Mackintosh ; pray is he any connexion of your 
family ? In the paper of July 6th I saw a quotation (by a 
speaker, Mr. E. Lytton Bulwer,) from a celebrated philoso- 
pher (meaning our oicn J. Herschel) who had felicitously 
observed that " the greatest discoverer in science can do no 
more than accelerate the progress of discovery." .... 
I remain, my dear niece, 
Your most affectionate 


The following letter, from the celebrated Encke, is 
one of the few preserved which belong to this period, 
and gives graceful expression to the high esteem in 
which she was held : 


BERLIN, Aug. 17, 1831. 


I feel great pleasure in informing you that the parcel 
which has been forwarded to me through your kindness is 
safely arrived here, and has been delivered to Professor 
Mitscherlich, according to the directions given by your 
celebrated nephew, J. Herschel. 

I hardly know, madame, how to return you my thanks 
for the trouble you have so kindly taken in transmitting the 
parcel to me. It would, indeed, have been an irretrievable 

CHAP, vi.] Letter from Prof. Encke. 249 

loss to have been deprived of the excellent treatise written 
by your eminent nephew, had it not reached its destination. 
Allow me, madaine, to avail myself of this opportunity to 
pay my respects to a lady, whose name is so intimately 
connected with the most brilliant astronomical discoveries 
of the age, and whose claims to the gratitude of every as- 
tronomer will be as conspicuous as your own exertions for 
extending the boundaries of our knowledge, and for assist- 
ing to develope the discoveries by which the name of your 
great brother has been rendered so famous throughout the 
literary world. 

I am, with great esteem and regard, madaine, 

Your most obedient, humble servant, 



HANOVER, Oct. 25, 1831. 

But mind, you are still my dear nephew, and will be 
so good as to give the above to your dear mother. With 
this last sum, I have actually received since I am here a 
thousand pounds ; a sum which I had no idea, (nor I am 
sure your father neither) you would have been burdened with 
so long, for when I left England I thought my life was not 
worth a farthing. But no more of this for the present. . . . 

You promised me another Catalogue of double stars, but 
I suppose you have had no time to arrange them. But do 
not observe too much in cold weather. Write rather books 
to make folks stare at your profound knowledge 

Loves and compliments to all whom ive love, and God 
bless my dear nephew, says 

Your affectionate aunt, 


P.S. I received Miss B.'s letter on the 16th. It gave 

250 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1832. 

me infinite pleasure to see that Babbage and Brewster have 
also been honoured with notice. As for the news of my dear 
nephew's appointment, she came too late, for on the 9th I 
was honoured by a note written by the Duke of Cambridge's 
own hands, informing me of it. 


HANOVER, December 25, 1831. 


More than two months are elapsed since I was made 
happy by your dear letter of October 15th .... I hope 
that perhaps some good account is on its passage and may 
reach me before the rivers are frozen up, as at this time of 
the year the posts are often interrupted. 

I have of late been very little from home, except two 
evenings in the week to the play, for I cannot walk the 
streets without being led, as I cannot trust my eyes to avoid 
obstacles, besides a total loss of strength ; so that the chief 
connection I keep up with this world depends on what I by 
imperfect glimpses can gather from the newspaper and a 
little talk sometimes with Mrs. Beckedorff. But a few 
weeks ago I exerted myself, fearing if I delayed much 
longer I might not be able at all to pay my respects to our 
good Duchess of Cambridge, and I wished to make good a 
blunder I had committed two years ago, when I was con- 
versing with her at the Landgrafin's for half an hour 
together, taking her all the while to be an officer's lady, as 
she came accompanied by her brother, the Prince of Hesse, 
who wore a moustache. It is the case in general, that I 
do not know my most intimate friends except by their 
voices. I was, however, very much gratified by my visit. 
A lady, who is in the habit of going to Court, left my name 
along with her own with the lady-in-waiting, and the next 
Sunday we were appointed to be there at half-past one (a 

CHAP, vi.] Last Illness of Lady Herschcl. 251 

very inconvenient hour for me, for I only begin to be alive 
when other folks go to sleep). But no reception could be more 
friendly. I was made take my place by her on the sofa, and 
after some conversation, the little Princess Augusta was 
called to tell me that she had seen you at Slough ; you had 
shown her the telescope and described how it was moved by 
the handle round about. I asked her if she had seen the 
little girls. The Duchess explained that her call had been 
unexpected, and regretted that she had not had an oppor- 
tunity of coming to Slough herself. Then the Princess was 
sent to call her father, whom I presented with } T our book, 
and he went to fetch his spectacles, and was much pleased 
with the subject, saying, " I shall read it, for I Eke such 
things." After I had read the whole book myself mind, I 
say the whole, though you recommended me to read only 
the first and last chapters and knowing no one who is 
worthy to look into it, I had it handsomely bound and 
wrote in the top margin " To His Royal Highness, the 
Duke of Cambridge." At the side of Sir Francis Bacon 
stands "from " and in the margin at the bottom, " Caroline 
Herschel, aunt of the author." By this means, I know it 
secured from contamination in the Duke's library, where 
anybody who is desirous of reading it will find it. 

December 26<7t. 

So far I wrote last night, thinking to fill this page 
to-day, with such news as I should like to communicate to 
my nephew if he was present ; but now all is fled from my 
memory, for my dear sister is ill, and perhaps still in danger, 
and my only trust is in your goodness of sending me a 
speedy account, which may confirm the hope you seem to 
entertain of her recovery. For there is nothing I so 
ardently desire as to be spared the pain of mourning for a 

252 Caroline Lucretia, Herschel. [1S32. 

single individual of those friends I have in England, and 
how much more it would affect me to lose one so nearly 
connected, and within a few months of my own age, it may 
be easily imagined .... Next to listening to the conversa- 
tion of learned men, I like to hear about them, but I find 
myself, unfortunately, among beings who like nothing but 
smoking, big talk on politics, wars, and such like things. 
Of our German astronomers, I have lately heard nothing ; 
but that, perhaps, is owing to Encke having had the cholera, 
but of which he soon recovered. Gauss has been long un- 
happily situated by losing his second wife, who had been 
long lingering .... 

.... I beg once more for an early assurance of my dear 
sister's recovery. 


HANOVEE, Jan. 20, 1832. 

My dear niece's and your letter of January 3rd, have 
indeed answered your kind intentions, for the painful com- 
munication of your last found me prepared, and enabled me 
to break the black seal with tolerable composure, and I 
found no small consolation from your description of the easy 
ending of your dear departed parent. 

At this moment, I am incapable of saying anything of 
myself. I know it cannot be long before I shall follow the 
dear departed, and my pen would trace nothing but lamen- 
tations at the prospect that my remains will not be joined 
in rest by the side of those with whom I lived so long. 

But I beg and trust you will continue to bless me with 
your good opinion and approbation, until the close, for that 
I have hitherto been in possession of the same, I conclude 
from the kind letters I receive from your own hands 

CHAP, vi.] Enters her eighty-third year. 253 


HANOVEK, March 14, 1832. 

Your precious letter, which I received this morning, 
has relieved my mind from the fear that some ill might have 
befallen my dear friends, because in my solitude the time 
between January 7th and March 14th, seems to be an age ; 
besides, the last melancholy letters required some soothing 
subject to think on, for I do nothing else but think of the 
spot where I once was and never can be again. 

But now all is well ; your dear letter will make me happy 
for some time to come, and in my next I will more fully 
reply to it, when I hope to be more composed than I am 
just now, as the day after to-morrow will be my birthday, 
when I, perhaps, enter on my eighty-third year. I am 
always at the return of that day what one may call " hipt," 
and therefore must destroy my thoughts any how as well as 
I can. 

I kept my dear nephew's birthday last week, the 7th of 
March, by thinking of you throughout the whole day. 
When I was at dinner, I made my maid stand opposite to 
me, and pouring her out a glass of wine, made her say, Sir 
John Herschel, lebe hoch ! (for ever). 

But I must hasten to say that which I wish you to know 
as soon as possible, which is, to beg of all things not to send 
the parcel the good Miss B. intended for me. I suppose it 
may consist of some dress of my dear departed sister .... 
I beg your acceptance of it for a remembrance of us both ; 
it would vex me to add anything I set store on, only to 
leave it to those I cannot esteem. 

I am much obliged to my dear nephew for sending the few 
pages announcing the publications of the Royal Society. It 

254 Caroline Liter etia Herschel. [1832. 

is only such morsels as these which keep up a desire for 
living any longer. But the premium of the King of Denmark's 
medal, for the discovery of telescopic comets, provokes me 
beyond all endurance, for it is of no use to me. One of my 
eyes is nearly dark, and I can hardly find the line again I 
have just been tracing by feeling on paper. 

Pray do not forget me when my nephew's recension of 
Mrs. Somerville's works makes its appearance 


HANOVEI:, April 20, 1832. 


M}' dear niece has promised me your article * on 
the writings of Mrs. Somerville. I hope she will not forget 
it, nor you the Catalogue of double stars. Such things 
make me very happy, but of any expensive publications I 
would not wish you to throw away upon me now; it makes 
me only grudge to think of having to leave them in the 
hands of blockheads. But if you have anything for Gottin- 
gen, Encke, or Bessel, it amuses me to forward it. Olbers 
has been dangerously ill for some time ; they tell me he is too 
fat, and lives too well. 

I only write this by way of announcing the parcel, that 
you may inquire for it should it not come to hand in due 
time, else I am very tired, and must yet make up the parcel, 
and I want to show myself once more to-morrow evening at 
the Oratorio, as it is for the poor, and will be the last per- 
formance this season 


HANOVER, June 19, 1832. 

.... I found niy aunt wonderfully well and very nicely 
and comfortably lodged, and we have since been on the full 
* In the Quarterly Review. 

CHAP, vi.] Letter from Hanover. 255 

trot. She runs about the town with me and skips up her 
two flights of stairs as light and fresh at least as some folks 

I could name who are not a fourth part of her age 

In the morning till eleven or twelve she is dull and weary, 
but as the day advances she gains life, and is quite "fresh 
and funny " at ten or eleven, p.m., and sings old rhymes, nay, 

even dances ! to the great delight of all who see her 

.... It was only this evening that, escaping from a 
party at Mrs. Beckedorff 's, I was able to indulge in what 
my soul has been yearning for ever since I came here a 
solitary ramble out of town, among the meadows which 
border the Leine-strom, from which the old, tall, sombre- 
looking Markt-thurm and the three beautiful lanthorn- 
steeples of Hanover are seen as in the little picture I have 
often looked at with a sort of mysterious wonder when a 
boy as that strange place in foreign parts that my father 
and uncle used to talk so much about, and so familiarly. 
The likeness is correct, and I soon found the point of view. 
Yesterday, being the anniversary of Waterloo, there was 
a great military spectacle here in a large esplanade, where 
there is erected a tall and very pretty column, with a 
bronze " Victory " at the top, hopping on one leg. A few 
guns were fired, a sermon preached, the veil of the statue 
(shown for the first time) pulled oif by the Duke of Cam- 
bridge, and a good dinner eaten by 350 personages, of 
which number I had the honour to be one unit, in a vast 
saloon in the Herrenhauser Palace, about the length, 
breadth, and height of St. George's Hall, at Windsor, the 
Duke presiding and giving the toasts, &c., in honour of 
the Waterloo heroes. The saloon was ornamented most 
curiously with guns, swords, and pikes, arranged in patterns, 
and with Waterloo trophies, and a panoramic view of the field 
of Waterloo in compartments. No ladies were admitted to 
the table, and (what say you to the gallantry of the Hano- 

256 Caroline Lzicretia Herschel. [1832-1833. 

verian militarj^ ?) there was no ball in the evening, nor any 
the slightest provision for the amusement or participation of 
the fair. So Mars and Venus, I suppose, have had a 



HANOVER, Dec. 4, 1832. 

I shall in future, when I have anything to say to my 
dear nephew address myself to you, well knowing his time 

is too precious for spending even on reading 

Thank him most heartity for the " Edinburgh Review," and 

the description of the wonderful machine But here 

is the grievance I cannot possibly read the Review, my 
sight is almost lost, and I must wait till Miss Beckedorff or 

somebody can read to me Dr. Tias, who travelled 

through Hanover, called on me to day. He talked strangely 
about my nephew's intention of going to the Cape of Good 
Hope. Mr. Hausmann told me some weeks ago that the 
Times contained the same report, to which I replied, "It is 
a lie ! " but what I heard from Dr. Tias to-day makes me 
almost believe it possible. Ja ! if I was thirty or forty 
years younger, and could go too ? in Gottes nahmen ! But 
I will not think about it till you yourself tell me more of it, 
for I have enough to think of my cramps, blindness, sleep- 
less nights, &c. 


HANOVER, March 30, 1833. 

Ever since the 6th of March, the day on which I 
received my dear niece's of the 26th of February, I have 

CHAP, vi.] Her Life in Hanover. 257 

been enabled to dispel by its comfortable contents the 
gloomy reflections with which I am on the return of your 
and my birthdays assailed. But being obliged to spend 
such days alone, at a distance from all who are dear to us ; 
or, what Avould be worse, in the presence of beings of un- 
congenial feelings, one is apt to fall again into the dismals, 
which the return of the late snow and frosty weather pre- 
vented my taking recourse to my usual remedy, which is to " 
turn all grievances into a joke. Your birthday I celebrated 
exactly like that of 1832, viz., after dinner I jingled glasses 
with Betty, and made her say, "Eslebe Sir John ! hoch!* 
hurrah ! " She went in the kitchen to wash the dishes, and 
I with a book (a silly novel) in my hand on the sofa asleep ! 

I begin to be confused, and had rather say nothing of the 
thousand things which are running in my head, and which 
all must be said within the next six months. As yet I can 
follow your steps and proceedings, for I read the papers the 
Globe and saw that in June is the meeting in Cambridge. 
.... From these papers I also see how all my valuable 
acquaintances drop off one after another. Captain Kater 
has lost his wife, the fine singer ; Mrs. Parry ; Lady Har- 
court ; your dear mother, are gone the latter three of my 
own age, and I must hold out ! 


HANOVER, August 1, 1833. 


I have now the pleasure of thanking my nephew for 
his valuable book of astronomy, having actually received it 
by yesterday's post, and by a kind letter from Professor 
Schumacher. I learn that I may yet hope to see the 
promised Catalogue of nebula and double stars, to the 

* Sir John for ever ! 

258 Caroline Lucretia HerscheL [1833. 

perusal of which I look forward as a solace during the time 
you will be on your way far, far from us. But these 
treasures cause me no little thinking about in whose hands 
I shall leave them when I cannot see them any longer, but 
cannot think of anyone I should like to leave them in pre- 
ference to the Duke of Cambridge. 

I cannot find words which would express sufficient thanks 
to my dear nephew for his last letter, every line of which 
conveys a comfort. 


P.S. Dear Nephew, as soon as your instrument is erected 
I wish you would see if there was not something remarkable 
in the lower part of the Scorpion to be found, for I remem- 
ber your father returned several nights and years to the 
same spot, but could not satisfy himself about the uncom- 
mon appearance of that part of the heavens. It was some- 
thing more than a total absence of stars (I believe). But 
you will have seen by the register that those lower parts 
could only be marked half swept. I wish you health and 
good success to all you undertake, and a happy return to a 
peaceful home in old England. God bless you all ! 


Sept. 6, 1833. 

Eight days are already gone since the arrival of your 
dear letter of August 21st, and I can hardly muster up com- 
posure enough at this moment to reply to it, because my 
ideas are still, what they ever] have been, more occupied 
with future or past events than what passes immediately 
about me. At present my thoughts are wholly fixed on the 
busy scenes with which you are at present surrounded, and 
regretting that I am not with you to afford you any assis- 

CHAP, vi.] Retrospection. 259 

tance, or to take charge of my nephew's workshops, as I 
used to do of his father's when absent ; or that it is not 
possible to shake off some thirty years from my shoulders 
that 1 might accompany you on your voyage. 

In answer to your query about my nephew's building a 
grotto of coals I must plead ignorance, but have no doubt 
many an edifice of that kind has daily been erected and 
erased without my being present, for my dear nephew was 
only in his sixth year when I came to be detached from the 
family circle. But this did not hinder John and / from re- 
maining the most affectionate friends, and many a half or 
whole holiday he was allowed to spend with me, was dedi- 
cated to making experiments in chemistry, where generally 
all boxes, tops of tea-canisters, pepper-boxes, teacups, &c., 
served for the necessary vessels, and the sand-tub furnished 
the matter to be analysed. I only had to take care to ex- 
clude water, which would have produced havoc on my car- 
pet. And for his first notion of building I believe he is 
indebted to me, for it was on his second or third birthday 
when I lifted him in the trenches to lay the south corner- 
stone of the building which was added to the original house 
at Slough. It must have been the second year of his age, 
for I remember I was obliged to use a deal of coaxing to 
make him part with the money he was to lay on the brick. 

About the same time, when one day I was sitting beside 
him, listening to his prattle, my attention was drawn by 
his hammering to see what he might be about, and found 
that it was the continuation of many days' labour, and that 
the ground about the corner of the house was undermined, 
the corner-stone entirely away, and he was hard at work 
going on with the next. I gave the alarm, and old John 
Wiltshire, a favourite carpenter, came running, crying out, 
" God bless the boy, if he is not going to pull the house 
down ! " (Our John was this man's pet, he taught him to 

s 2 

260 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1833. 

handle the tools). A bricklayer came directly with brick 
and mortar to mend the damage. 

I was called to my solitary dinner just when I was going 
to give you a few specimens of my nephew's poetry ; I have 
some by me, composed when about eight or nine years old, 
in a most shocking handwriting ; but generally about this 
time I am so sleepy that I think it will be best to give you 
the continuation in a posthumous letter from C. H. to Lady 
M. B. Herschel, to be delivered to her on her return from 
the Cape 

If I only live long enough to have the assurance of your 
all being well and safely got to the Cape, I will lay down 
my head in peace. 

My paper is not filled, but there is not time for writing 
more, nor do I like to think about the present ; but about 
a month ago I began a day-book again, which I was in the 
habit of keeping when in England, and with the contents of 
that I intend to fill my posthumous letter to you. 

God bless you, my dear niece .... and with my love 
to my dear nephew and yourself, 
I remain, 

Your most affectionate aunt, 



Dec. 11, 1833. 


By recollecting your former obliging kindness to me, 
I am encouraged once more to intrude on your valuable 
time by transcribing part of my nephew's last letter, dated 
from Portsmouth, November 10th : " The last proof sheet 
of my nebulae paper left my hands the night I left London, 
and yesterday I got twelve copies to take to the Cape. One 
w ill be forwarded to you to-morrow by Lieut. Stratford, 

CHAP, vi.] To Professor Schumacher. 261 

K.N., superintendent of the " Nautical Almanac," who will 
send it to Prof. Schumacher, to whom, if you do not soon 
get it, pray write. I have also ordered a duplicate to be 
sent you by Mr. Hudson, assistant secretary of the Royal 
Society, and librarian, who will henceforward send you all 
my papers (in duplicate). My observations on the satel- 
lites of Uranus, which confirm my brother's results, were 
sent to be put in course of publication last night." 

I have no doubt but that you, Sir, are in correspondence 
with the above named, but to me unknown, gentlemen, and 
that those two copies intended for me are only enclosed in 
a packet with many for yourself. 

I long much to see the observations on the Georgian 
satellites, but doubt their being ready to come with the 
paper on nebulae. I beg you will order them to be for- 
warded to me as soon as you see them yourselves, for 
I do not flatter myself with the hopes of being much longer 
for this world, but will be thankful if life is spared me till 
the end of April, when I hope to receive the assurance of 
my nephew's safe arrival with his dear family at the Cape. 

Excuse my troubling you so far, and believe me with 
great regard, dear Sir, 

Your much obliged and humble servant, 




CAPE TOWN, Jan. 21, 1834. 


Here we are safely landed and comfortably housed at 
the far end of Africa, and having secured the landing and 
final stowage of all the telescopes and other matters, as far 
as I can see, without the slightest injury, I lose no time in 
reporting to you our good success so far. M. and the 
children are, thank God, quite well; though, for fear you 
should think her too good a sailor, I ought to add that she 
continued sea-sick, at intervals, during the whole passage. 
We were nine weeks and two days at sea, during which 
period we experienced only one day of contrary wind. We 
had a brisk breeze " right aft " all the way from the Bay of 
Biscay (which we never entered) to the " calm latitudes," 
that is to say, to the space about five or six degrees broad 
near the equator, where the trade winds cease, and where it 
is no unusual thing for a ship to lie becalmed for a month 
or six weeks, frying under a vertical sun. Such, however, 
was not our fate. We were detained only three or four days 
by the calms usual in that zone, but never quite still, or 
driven out of our course, and immediately on crossing "the 
line," got a good breeze (the south-east trade wind), which 
carried us round Trinidad, then exchanged it for a north- 
west wind, which, with the exception of one day's squall 
from the south-east, carried us straight into Table Bay. 
On the night of the 14th we were told to prepare to see the 
Table Mountain. Next morning (N.B., we had not seen 

CHAP, viz.] Sir John Herschel at the Cape. 263 

land before since leaving England), at dawn the welcome 
word "land" was heard, and there stood this magnificent 
hill, with all its attendant mountain range down to the 
farthest point of South Africa, full in view, with a clear blue 
ghost-like outline, and that night we cast anchor within the 
Bay. Next morning early we landed under escort of Dr. 
Stewart, M.'s brother, and you may imagine the meeting. 
We took up our quarters at a most comfortable lodging- 
house (Miss Eabe's), and I proceeded, without loss of time, 
to unship the instruments. This was no trifling operation, 
as they filled (with the rest of our luggage) fifteen large 
boats ; and, owing to the difficulty of getting them up from 
the "hold" of the ship, required several days to complete 
the landing. During the whole time (and indeed up to this 
moment) not a single south-east gale, the summer torment 
of this harbour, has occurred. This is a thing almost un- 
heard of here, and has indeed been most fortunate, since 
otherwise it is not at all unlikely that some of the boats, 
laden as they were to the water's edge, might have been lost, 
and the whole business crippled. 

For the last two or three days we have been looking at 
houses, and have all but agreed for one, a most beautiful 
place within four or five miles out of town, called " The 
Grove." In point of situation, it is a perfect paradise, in 
rich and magnificent mountain scenery, and sheltered from 
all winds, even the fierce south-easter, by thick surrounding 
woods. I must reserve for my next all description of the 
gorgeous display of flowers which adorns this splendid 
country, as well as of the astonishing brilliancy of the con- 
stellations, which the calm, clear nights show off to great 
advantage ; and wishing we had you here to see them, must 
conclude with best loves from M. and the children. 
Your affectionate nephew, 


264 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1834. 



May 1, 1834. 


Your precious letter relieved me on the 14th from a 
whole twelvemonth's anxiety, for it was in April last year 
when, by your few brief lines on business, I saw that you 
were seriously preparing for leaving Europe, and from that 
time I became in idea a vagrant accompanying you through 
all the fatigues of preparing for such a momentous under- 
taking. And if it had not been for the consoling letter of 
your brother [in law] James, and one from Miss B. giving 
me an account of the carefully arranged accommodation with 
which they saw you depart, I should not have known how 
to support myself till I saw your dear letter, which brought 
me even more comfort than I could hope you would have 
found time to think of. .... 

Both yourself and my dear niece urged me to write often, 
and to write always twice ; but alas ! I could not overcome 
the reluctance I felt of telling you that it is over with me, 
for getting up at eight or nine o'clock, dressing myself, 
eating my dinner alone without an appetite, falling asleep 
over a novel (I am obliged to lay down to recover the fatigue 
of the morning's exertions) awaking with nothing but the 
prospect of the trouble of getting to bed, where very seldom 
I get above two hours' sleep. It is enough to make a 
parson swear ! To this I must add I found full employment 
for the few moments, when I could rouse myself from a 
melancholy lethargy, to spend in looking over my store of 
astronomical and other memorandums of upwards of fifty 
years collecting, and destroying all what might produce 
nonsense when coming through the hands of a Block-kopff 
in the Zeitungen. 

My dear friends, Mrs. and Miss Beckedorff, are assisting 

CHAP, vii.] Arrival at the Cape. 265 

me in my final preparations for going to that bourn from 
whence none ever returned, but let me hope that you, my 
dear nephew, with my dear niece and the whole of your 
young family, will return to your dear relatives and friends 
after having seen all your wishes and expectations crowned 
with success. Though, if I may not be among those who 
will greet your return, I can assure you their number will 
be great, judging from the sensation the account of your 
safe arrival at the Cape has caused among all our friends ; 

and (as Dr. M will have it) " the whole intelligent and 

scientific world in general are participating in our feeling." 
Poor Mrs. Beckedorff, to whom I read your letter, sat 
trembling and crying for joy ; for I now find that my friends 
had not been without fear for your safety on account of the 
storms (and their sad consequences) which prevailed for a 
long time immediately after your departure, and the same 
evening a note was despatched to her Boyal Highness the 
Landgrafin to communicate the news ; for from the Duke's 
and her Royal Highness's constant inquiries when I ex- 
pected to hear from you, I knew the account of your safe 

arrival would give pleasure. 


The feelings of joy I experienced the first few days after 
the arrival of your letter are nearly evaporated, and I begin 
to feel already that the essential information required for 
making me reconciled to the immense space which divides 
me from you is still wanting ; which is, that I cannot now, 
as formerly, receive so frequent accounts concerning the 
health of my dear niece and the children, not even from 
Miss B., who used to describe their little ways so prettily, 
for she, too, cannot now observe them. I look with im- 
patience for the next account . ... of the health of my 
dear niece, yours, and the dear little beings. Caroline and 
Isabella and I are old friends, but is William Herschel the 

266 Caroline Lucretia Hersc/iel. [1834. 

second likely to live (if not beyond) at least to the age of 
his grandfather ? 

Perhaps you will receive the " Gottingsche Gelehrte 
Anzeigen" of 16th and 19th December, 1833, containing 
what is said of your book on Natural Philosophy (by Gauss 
they say). 

God bless you all, and believe, my dear nephew, 
Ever your most affectionate aunt, 



FELDHAUSEN, June 6, 1834. 

The twenty-foot has been in activity ever since the 
end of February, and, as I have now got the polishing appa- 
ratus erected and three mirrors (one of which I mean to 
keep constantly polishing) the sweeping gets on rapidly. I 
had hardly begun regular sweeping, when I discovered two 
beautiful planetary nebula3, exactly like planets, and one of 
a fine blue colour. I have not been unmindful of your hint 
about Scorpio, I am now rummaging the recesses of that 
constellation and find it full of beautiful globular clusters. 
A few evenings ago I lighted on a strange nebulae, of winch 
here is a figure ! and since I am about it I shall add a figure 
of one of the resolvable nebulae in the greater magellanic 
cloud. The equatorial is at last erected, and the revolving 
roof (upon a plan of my own) works perfectly well, but I 
am sorry to say that the nights in which it can be used to 
advantage are rare, even rarer than in England, as, in spite 
of the clearness of the sky, the stars are ill-defined and ex- 
cessively tremulous. But a truce to astronomical details ! 
though from time to time I shall continue to plague you 

CHAP, vii.] The Landgravine of Hesse. 267 

with them Farewell; M. desires to add her 

kindest regards to those of 

Your affectionate nephew, 


The following letters from the Princesses of Hesse 
and Dessau afford a pleasing memorial of the kind and 
affectionate interest which they lost no opportunity of 
expressing in Miss Herschel and her family. 

HANOVER, June 10, 1834. 

I yesterday received the enclosed note from my niece, 
the Dowager Duchess of Anhalt Dessau, but felt too unwell 
to send it as I could not write, which I wished to do, to 
thank you also for your great kindness about the book. 
My niece writes in extasies with your good nature. I am 
glad to learn from our dear Sophy Beckedorff that you are 
pretty Avell. I trust to be well enough soon to see you, but 
I am still weak and unlike myself. It gave me very great 
pleasure to learn that you have had fresh accounts of your 
nephew, who, I pray God, may be prosperous in all his very 
interesting and valuable undertakings. 

I am happy of having this opportunity of assuring you of 
the sincerity of my regard. 

The Dowager Landgravine of Hesse, 

born Princess of England. 


DESSAU, Jvm 6, 1834. 

Miss Caroline Herschel finds here the expressions 
of my utmost gratitude for the great kindness to give me 

268 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1834. 

the so very interesting work of her nephew, the worthy 
follower of a celebrated father. 

The gentleman here, a Mr. Schwabe, to whom it was 
destined, looks with eager curiosity on the discoveries Mr. 
Herschel will make in the new regions of heaven he is now 
examining, and if she would he inclined, after receiving any 
interesting news, to make communication of it, it would 
always be accepted with the best thanks of 


Duchess of Anhalt Dessau. 



Sept. 11, 1834. 

Your welcome letter of June 6 I received on the 
19th August .... and I know not how to thank you 
sufficiently for the cheering account you give of the climate 
agreeing so well with you and all who are so dear to me, and 
that you find all about you so agreeable and comfortable, 
.... so that I have nothing left to wish for but a con- 
tinuation of the same, and that I may only live to see the 
handwriting of your dear Caroline, though I have my 
doubts about lasting till then, for the thermometer standing 
80 and 90 for upwards of two months, day and night, in 
my rooms (to which I am mostly confined) has made great 
havoc in my brittle constitution. 1 beg you will look to it 
that she learns to make her figures as you will find them in 
your father's MSS., such as he taught me to make. The 
daughter of a mathematician must write plain figures. 

My little grand-nephew making alliance with your work- 
men shews that he is taking after his papa. I see you now 
in idea (memory ?) running about in petticoats among your 
father's carpenters, working with little tools of your own, 
and John Wiltshire (one of Pitt's men, whom you may 

CHAP, vii.] A Hole in the Sky. 269 

perhaps remember), crying out, " Dang the boy, if he can't 
drive in a nail as well as I can ! " but pray take care that he 
does not come to harm, and in your next tell me something 
of our little Isabella, too. 

I thank you for the astronomical portion of your letter, 
and for your promise of future accounts of uncommon 
objects. It is not clusters of stars I want you to discover 
in the body of the Scorpion (or thereabout), for that does 
not answer my expectation, remembering having once heard 
your father, after a long awful silence, exclaim, " Hier ist 
wahrhaftig ein Loch im Himmel ! "* and, as I said before, 
stopping afterwards at the same spot, but leaving it unsatis- 
fied, &c 

About two months ago I was, for the last time, unfortu- 
nately, at the theatre, when Professor Schumacher and the 
Chevalier Kessel, of Danneburg, called on me. As soon as 
I came home I sent a note of invitation for the next 
levening, but had one returned informing me of their eaving 
Hanover next morning, and a promise of coming perhaps 
next summer. But I hear Struve is coming, and I hope I 
shall get a sight of him. The Emperor of Kussia and the 
King of Denmark are cramming their observatories with 
astronomical instruments, &c., of all descriptions, made, I 

believe, some of them by Hohenbaum 


To my dear niece I beg you to give my best love and 
thanks for the kind arrangement to indemnify me for the 
loss of her dear letters, by charging her brother to inform 
me of all they know, &c., which, thank God, is hitherto of 
the most comforting nature. 

With the most heartfelt wishes for the continuance of the 
health of you all, I remain, &c., &c., 


* Here, indeed, is a hole in heaven. 

270 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1835. 


FELDHAUSEN, C. G. H., Feb. 22, 1835. 


For my own part I never enjoyed such good health in 
England as I have done since I came here. The first 
coming on of the hot season affected me a little (odd enough 
with colds and rheumatisms), but it soon went off. 

The stars continue to be propitious, and the nights which 
follow a shower, or a "black south-easter," are the most 
observing nights it is possible to imagine. I have swept 
well over Scorpio, and have many entries in my sweeping 
books of the kind you describe, viz., blank space in the 
heavens without the smallest star. For example : 

R.A. 16 h 15 m N.P.D. 113 56' a field without the smallest star. 
,, 16 19 116 3 Antares (a Scorpii) 

16 23 ,, 114 25 to 214 5' fields entirely void of stars. 

,, 16 26 ,, 114 14 notastar!6 m Nothing! 

16 27 114 as far as 114 10'. 

and so on. Then come on the globular clusters, then more 
blank fields, then suddenly the Milky Way comes on as here 
described (from my sweep 474, July 29, 1834) : 

" 17 h 28 m , 114 27'. The Milky Way comes on in large 
milky nebulous irregular patches and banks, with few stars 
of visible magnitude, after a succession of black fields and 
extremely rare stars above 18th magnitude. I do not 
remember ever to have seen the Milky Way so decidedly 
nebulous, or, indeed, at all so, before." 

Altogether the constitution of the Milky Way in its whole 
extent, from Scorpio to Argo Navis, is extremely curious and 
interesting. I have already collected a pretty large cata- 
logue of southern nebulae, for the most part hitherto un- 
observed, but my most remarkable object is a fine planetary 
nebula of a beautiful greenish-blue colour, a full and intense 

CHAP, vii.] Sir John Herschel at the Cape. 271 

tint (not as when one says Lyra is a bluish star, &c.), but a 
positive and evident blue, between indigo-blue and verditer 
green. It is about 12" in diameter, exactly round, or a 
very little elliptic, and quite as sharply denned as a planet. 
Its place is ll h 42 m E.A., and 146 14' N.P.D. My review 
for double stars goes on in moonlight nights, and among 
them I may mention y Lupi and e Chameleontis as among 
the closest and most interesting. 

I have been hunting for Halley's comet by Bunker's 
Ephemeris in Taurus, but without success, though in the 
finest sky, quite dark, and with a newly-polished mirror. 
(By the way, I should mention that I have not had the 
least difficulty in my polishing work, and my mirrors are 
now more perfect than at any former time since I have used 
them.) My last comet hunt was Feb. 18. I shall, how- 
ever, continue to look out for it. Pray mention this to 
Schumacher, who is Hunker's next door neighbour. 


March 9, 1835. 

I return you many thanks for your communication of 
being chosen an Honorary Member of the Royal Astro- 
nomical Society, and beg you will do me the favour to 
convey my most heartfelt thanks to the honourable gentle- 
men of the Council for conferring so great an honour on 
me ; and only regret that at the feeble age of 85 I have no 
hope of making myself deserving of the great honour of 
seeing my name joined with that of the much distinguished 
Mrs. Somerville. 

I beg you will believe me to remain, with great regard, 
Sir, your most respectful and 

obliged humble servant, 


272 Caroline Lucretza HerscheL [1835. 


HANOVEK, April 2, 1835. 


I feel very great gratification at recollecting that some 
twenty years ago I had the pleasure of being present when 
you were conversing at Slough with my dear brother, for 
it encourages me to address you now as an old friend, and I 
might almost say my only one, for death has not spared me 
one of those valuable men of the last century in whose 
society I had an opportunity of spending many happy hours, 
when they came to pass an astronomical night at Bath, 
Datchet, Clay Hall, and Slough. And I should now in the 
absence of my nephew (who would in my name have pro- 
perly answered your kind letter for me) been much at a loss 
how to reply to yours of March 17. But I hope, dear Sir, 
you will have the goodness to return my sincere thanks to 
the Council of the Society for voting me a complete copy of 
their Memoirs. But, considering my advanced age and 
declining health, I think it best not to havo them sent over 
to me, for it would cause me much uneasiness to leave them 
in the hands of those who could neither read nor understand 

I suppose my nephew must have himself a complete copy 
of the Memoirs; but. if not, I beg you will give them to 
him, along with my love, as a keepsake from his affec- 
tionate and grateful aunt, the first opportunity you have to 
see him on his return. 

Your kind information of the work with which you are at 
present engaged, touches a string which it has caused me 
no small trouble to silence ; for whenever my thoughts 
return to those two or three years of which every moment 
that could be spared from other immediate astronomical 
business was, by my brother's desire, allotted for com- 

CHAI-. vii.] Catalogues of Stars. 273 

paring each star of the British Catalogue with their obser- 
vations in that incorrect edition of 1725, I feel always sorry 
that want of time, and, perhaps, want of ability too, must 
liave been the cause of leaving many incorrections unno- 
ticed. The work, however, was solely intended for the use 
of my brother, who valued Flamsteed as an observer too 
much to have made use of any other but the British Cata- 
logue for determining the places of his newly-discovered 
objects. N.B. "We ought to remember that till the year 
1790 and 1800, when Wollaston's and Bode's Catalogues 
appeared, we had no other to go by, for those of Piazzi and 
several other excellent observers were then not generally 

But, dear Sir, I ought to take leave of this to me inte- 
resting subject ; for finding, about eight years since, that> 
on account of the failure of my eyes and wretched health in 
general, I should be unable to make further use of Flam- 
steed's works, I gave the three volumes, along with the 
Atlas, Catalogue of Omitted Stars, &c., to the Observatory 
of Gottingen, all marked throughout with what corrections 
I knew of at that time ; thinking they might be of use to 
the observer there, and relieve me besides from the fear of 
leaving them where they could not be appreciated, or an 
attempt be made to comment on them, and perhaps have 
made bad worse. 

I wish (but almost fear life will not be spared me so long) 
to see your new edition of the British Catalogue, therefore 
beg you will favour me with a copy as early as possible. I 
never knew that there was a Biography of Flamsteed's 
existing, and trust you will favour me with the same as soon 
as you can. 

Any small parcels of astronomical papers will come to me 
by favour of Herr Schumacher in Altona, who is so kind as 
to send me his " Astronom. Nachrichten " regularly for 

274 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [isss. 

my amusement. And if you could send me the names of 
the President and of the gentlemen of the present Council, 
it would greatly oblige me. 

I hope you will pardon my having intruded so long on 
your time, but it has ever been my fault to be tedious in 
expressing my thoughts on paper ; but will now only add 
that, with great esteem and regard, 

I remain, my dear Sir, 

Your humble servant, 




April 16, 1835. 


I have sincere pleasure in availing myself of the 
opportunity of writing to you which the Astronomical 
Society of London has afforded me, by placing my name in 
the number of Honorary Members, and greatly adding to 
the value of that distinction by associating my name with 
yours, to which I have looked up with so much admiration. 
My object in writing is to request that you will accept 
of a copy of my book on the Connexion of the Physical 
Sciences, which is offered with great deference, having 
been written for a very different class of readers. 

I am proud of the friendship of your nephew, the worthy 
son of such a father, who is succeeding so well in his 
glorious undertaking at the Cape. I have seen a letter of 
the 27th January, when they were all well and prospering. 
Iremain, dear Madam, 

With sincere esteem, 

Very truly yours, 


CHAP, vii.] Letters. 275 


April 23, 1835. 


* * * * * 

Your own dear letter arrived containing such a 
volume of joyful news, conveyed in the most kindest expres- 
sions, as if chosen for the purpose to cheer the heart of 
feeble age. 

I was then not able (nor am I so now) to thank you as I 
could wish for your sparing so much of your valuable time 
and strength for the purpose of making me a partaker of 

your domestic happiness. 


I have now received in all five letters, two by your own 
hands, and three by my nephew. Each time after having 
read them over again they are put by, under thanksgiving 
to the Almighty, with a prayer for future protection. 

.... Writing to my absent friends is one of the most 
laborious employments I could fly to when under bodily 
and, of course, mental sickness, for it is not impossible I 
might, instead of making inquiry about my little precious 
grand-nephew and the young ladies who play, sing, and sew 
so prettily, write, " O ! my back. O ! I have the cramp 
here, there, &c." 

I had intended to keep a day-book to note down how and 
where I spent my time, and what was passing about me, 
which was to have served for yours and my nephew's amuse- 
ment some day or other. But this I have given up long 
since, for seeing nothing but lapses of weeks and months 
where I could have given no better account of myself than 
that, after the fatigue of getting up and dressing, I fell asleep 
on the sofa, with a newspaper or other uninteresting sub- 
ject in my hands, this would only have put me in mind of 

the useless life I am leading now. 

T 2 

276 Caroline Lucretia, Herschel. [1835. 

But within the last two months I have been obliged to 
exert myself once more to answer two letters, one to Mr. 
De Morgan, the Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society, 
the other to Mr. Baily (who I suppose is President), for 
they have been pleased to choose me, along with Mrs. 
Somerville, to be a member (God knows what for) of their 
Society. This, and receiving visits of congratulation (for 
congratulate they must about all they find what they call 
promotion in the zeitungen) has really somewhat disturbed 
me, though Captain Muller and Mr. Hausmann I am 
always glad to see ; with them I can talk about my nephew^ 
for they know him personally, and admire him. The winter 
else has passed away rather heavily, because the Landgrafin 
not being here, I had no other opportunity for seeing any- 
thing to put me in mind of England, but going to eight or 
ten concerts, and those, ill or well, I never missed, for there 
I was always sure to be noticed by the Duke of Cambridge 
as his countrywoman (and that is what I want, I will be no 
Hanoverian !), and then inquiries are made about my nephew 
and his family ; even the little princess, twelve years old, 
who sometimes when there, comes to give me her hand, 
asking if I have had any letters from the Cape ; but now I 
have seen the last of them, for the family go to England, 
and will be absent for many months, and where may I be 
when they return ? But Sunday night I sat a full hour on 
the sofa with the Duke at Mrs. Beckedorff 's, where I go 
Sundays from seven to nine, where there is nobody but the 
female part of Mrs. B.'s family, and another old lady, who 
was absent on account of being not well. Of this our meet- 
ing the good Duke knew all along, and good-naturedly came 
to join our gossip. 

Here 1 have filled my paper with talking of nothing but my- 
self, because I know that my nephew corresponds with all scien- 
tific men in Europe, for I hear frequently of extracts having 

CHAP, vii.] Newton and Flamsteed. 277 

appeared in the papers (of his communications) by Struve, 
Littrow, &c., and should suppose he will also know what is 
done at our Society, of ivhicli I now am a fellow ! and is of 
course acquainted with what Mr. Baily mentioned in his 
letter to me, that at the public expense a new edition of 
Flamsteed's work is now in print, and that papers have 
been found at the Royal Society containing a biography by 
Flamsteed's own hands, which but here I transcribe what 
Mr. B. writes : "I lament very much, in common with 
every friend of science, that Newton's name is mixed up 
with transactions that show him in a different light from 
that in which we have generally received his character. But 
justice to Flamsteed's memory would not allow me to sup- 
press any portion of his autobiography." 

Now we talk of biographies, I have no less than nine of 
my poor brother, and heard of two more, one by Zach, 
which I shall try to get sight of. There is but one or two 
which are bordering on truth, the rest being stuff, not worth 
while to fret about. The best is accompanied with a minia- 
ture of Reberg's bad copy ; but I have ordered a lithograph 
copy to be taken from the portrait by Artaud ; if it turns out 
correct I will send two copies as soon as they come out. 

God bless you both, and the dear children, my best 


Ever your most affectionate aunt, 



May 25, 1835. 


Let the time come whenever it may please God, I leave 

* A brother of Lady Herschel's. This gentleman and his brothers were 
in the habit of writing to Miss Herschel during her nephew's absence at the 
Cape, keeping her informed of the latest news, and showing her every kind and 

thoughtful attention. 

278 Caroline Liicretia Herschel. [isss. 

cash enough behind to clear me from all and any obligations 
to all who here do know me. Even the expenses of a re- 
spectable funeral lie ready to enable my friend Mrs. Becke- 
dorif, and one of my nieces (the widow of Amptmann Knip- 
ping,* who lately came to settle at Hanover) to fulfil my 

I hope you will pardon my troubling you with such dole- 
ful subjects, but I wish to show you that my income is by 
one third more than I have the power to spend, for by a 
twelve years' trial I find that I cannot get rid of more than 
600 thl. = 100 per year, without making myself ridi- 


HANOVER, August 6, 1835. 


I dare not wait any longer for a return of better 
spirits, such as in which I should like to reply to my 
nephew's dated February 22nd, and yours of May 19th, for 
I fear if I do not at least acknowledge the receipt of them, 
I shall not be gladdened again by such delightful descrip- 
tions of your health and healthful situation, and my 
nephew's contentment with the successful progress he is 
making in his intended observations. 

At first, on reading them, I could turn wild, but this is 
only a flash, for soon I fall in a reverie of what my dear 
nephew's father would have felt if such letters could have 
been directed to him, and cannot suppress my wish that his 
life instead of mine had been spared until this present mo- 
ment ; for what immense and wonderful discoveries have 

* This lady, the daughter of Dietrich Herschel, proved a most true, affec- 
tionate, and trustworthy friend to the last. See her letter on Miss Herschel's 

HAP. vii.] Present of Constantia. 27 & 

not been made within these thirteen years, chiefly by his 
own son, or son's suggestion ! 

But I must stop here and turn to more earthly and 
indifferent subjects (though they ought not to be called 
indifferent neither), for in the first place I have to return 
my thanks for no less than three dozen of Constantia wine, 
but this I shall do but with a very bad grace, for ever since 
the llth of Ma} T , when I received my nephew's letter, I have 
been in the fidgets about the trouble he and his friends 

must have had before such a thing could reach me 

I feel more reconciled after unburdening myself of some of 
this weighty concern by making presents to all who love 
and esteem you so truly, and after setting apart a portion, 
according to Captain Muller's advice, with which you 
may be treated when at your return you may perhaps visit 
Hanover again, there remains more than ever I can get 
through with, for I am very desirous to spin out the thread 
of my life till you return home. And I know it is a mis- 
taken notion that old folks want more of what they call 
comfort than young ones. It is not very easy to find out 

what will convey comfort in general I, for instance, 

know of no other comforts like those I derive from yours 
and my dear niece's letters. Her last leaves me nothing to 

wish for 


You compliment me on having a steady hand, but if you 
were to see the blotting I make before I can make it hang- 
together (when I am composing, as it were, a letter) you 
would not say so, and, after all, it will cause you some 
trouble to understand me, for the letter begins to my dear 
niece, and soon after I find myself talking to you 

280 Caroline Liicretia HerscheL 


FELLHAU.SES, Oct. 24, 1835. 

The last accounts we have of you are that you are- 
elected a member of the Astronomical Society, and that to- 
keep you in countenance, and prevent your being the only 
lady among so many gentlemen, you have for a colleague 
and sister member, Mrs. Somerville. Now this is well 
imagined, and we were not a little pleased to hear it. May 
you long enjoy your well-earned laurels ! 

As I presume our news will interest you more than com- 
ments upon what goes on in Europe, in the first place be it 
known to you, that we are all well and, thank Heaven, happy. 

The children, one and all, thrive uncommonly The 

stars go on very well, though for the last two months the 
weather has been chiefly cloudy, which has hitherto pre- 
vented me seeing Halley's comet. Encke's (yours) escaped 
me, owing to trees and the Table Mountain, though I cut 
away a good gap in our principal oak avenue to get at it. 
However, Maclear, at the Observatory, succeeded in getting 
three views of it with the fourteen-foot Newtonian of my 
father's (the Glasgow telescope) on the 14th, 19th, and 
(?) 24th of September. If you have an opportunity of 
letting this become known to Encke, pray do so (I shall 
write to him shortly myself). It was in or near the calcu- 
lated place, but no measures could be got. 

I have now very nearly gone over the whole southern 
heavens, and over much of it often. So that after another 
season of reviewing, verifying, and making up accounts (re- 
ducing and bringing in order the observations) we shall be 
looking homewards. In short, I have, to use a homely 
phrase, broken the neck of the work, and my main object 
now is to secure and perfect what is done, and get all ready 

HAV. vii.] Duke of Cambridge. 281 

to begin printing the moment we arrive in England; or, 
if that is not possible, at least to have no more calcula- 
tion to do 


HANOVER, Nov. 19, 1835. 

The Duke of Cambridge hastens to acknowledge the 
receipt of Miss Herschel's very obliging note, and to return 
his many thanks for her attention in sending him some of 
the Constantia she has lately received from her nephew. 
He seizes this opportunity of assuring her of the satis- 
faction he felt at hearing that Mr. Herschel and his family 
were in good health, and he sincerely hopes that the climate 
of the Cape will agree with them. 



Jan. 29, 1836. 


I forwarded some time since, to Professor Schu- 
macher, a copy of my " Account of Flamsteed," to be sent 
to you ; and which he says was duly transmitted. I am 
anxious to know whether it has arrived safe, for, as only a 
limited number of copies were printed (which are all dis- 
tributed) it cannot be purchased. 

I have been the more desirous that you should have a 
copy, because there is no one that has taken so much pains 
to elucidate and explain the works of Flamsteed as yourself, 
and therefore I am bound in gratitude to see that you are- 
put in possession of a copy of the work. 

I shall take this opportunity of stating that I hear occa- 
sionally from your nephew at the Cape of Good Hope, and 
that the last accounts confirmed his continuance in good 

282 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. 

health, and his enjoyment of the pleasures of the fine 
climate in which he is placed. 

I remain, my dear madam, with the assurance of my best 
respects, and my best wishes for your health and happiness, 

Your very obedient servant, 



HANOVER, Feb. 15, 1836. 

I am quite at a loss for terms in which to apologize 
for having neglected to acknowledge the receiving of your 
valuable Catalogue and biography of our dear ill-used Flam- 
steed, which was forwarded to me by the usual kindness and 
punctuality of Prof. Schumacher on the 9th October last. 
The same packet also contained Mrs. Somerville's second 
edition " On the Connexion," &c., accompanied by a kind 
note, dated as far back as April 16th, which, to my sorrow, 
is also still left unanswered on account of illness, and in the 
hope that when the days are somewhat longer (my eyes fail 
me), and that with the return of spring I might perhaps 
regain some small portion of strength but I doubt. 

The parcel also contained duplicates of my nephew's 
second series, and on the satellites of Uranus, and I must 
trust that on his return he will convey my grateful thanks to 
you, sir, and the gentlemen, for all the kind attention con- 
ferred on me during his absence. My last letter from the 
Cape is dated October 24th, and I am much gratified by 
your kindness in having informed my nephew of the wish I 
have that the volumes of the Royal Astronomical Society's 
publications voted to me might be kept for him, and he 
seems much pleased with the arrangement. I therefore 
would recommend them to your obliging care till his return. 

CHAP, vii.] Southern Stars. 283 

The volume of your " Account of Flamsteed " must be my 
companion to the last, but I will take care it shall be safely 
delivered to my nephew. 

If I will not lose another post I must conclude with the 
assurance of ever remaining with great regard, 

My dear Sir, 
Your much obliged and humble servant, 



March 8, 1836. 


Maggie desires me to finish this for her, but she has 
not left me room to write at length. So I will only devote 
this space to one point in your last letter which requires reply. 
I have not got Gauss's apparatus, and I am not sufficiently 
acquainted with his method of observing to construct one for 
myself. Besides which it is quite out of my power to under- 
take any extensive series of observations, being anxious to 
get home, and having still so much to do, both in observa- 
tion and reduction, that I really shall hardly be able to ac- 
complish all I have already in hand. This comet [Halley's] 
has been a great interruption to my sweeps, and I hope and 
fear it may yet be visible another month. Unluckily when 
I sailed from England I left all my volumes of Poggendorff 
and the " Nachrichten " behind me, and none of the former 
and very few of the latter have reached me here. I fear it 
is now too late to send home for anything, and I have two 
series of observations, viz., of the comparative brightness 
of the southern stars, and of the photometric estimation of 
their magnitudes the former just commencing, the latter 
not yet begun, which I must do. Pray explain this to 
Gauss Astronomical news I have little, but one 

284 Caroline Liicretia Herschel. [isse, 

thing very remarkable I must tell you, y Virginia is now 
single star in both the twenty-foot and the seven-foot 
equatorial ! ! ! 

Your affectionate nephew, 



HANOVER, June 29, 1836. 

I do not know where to begin, for I see it is nearly a 
twelvemonth since I gave some account of myself, and in all 
that time never returned my thanks for the three letters I 

received I have a great deal to say, and will begin 

with accounting for my long silence, by confessing that I 
have throughout the whole winter been too ill to do 
anything besides nursing myself, and putting myself in a 
condition to appear before strangers, which I am not able 
to do till after twelve or one at noon, and the time which I 
wanted to rest after my exertion and getting my breakfast 
was generally taken up by pacifying the gulls about the 
foolish paragraphs they had been reading the night before 
in the Clubs. I never read, or would read, any of them, 
but when I heard of anything appearing rational concerning 
you, I copied or procured the paper for myself, and then I 
found among the rest a letter of yours to Professor Plana, 
in Turin, dated December 28th, 1834. And not being able 
to do anything of use to yon myself, I begged Capt. 
Miiller to cause those observations of June 21st, &c., to be 
made by somebody here in Hanover, and the enclosed letter 

will, I hope, meet with a gracious reception I 

believe Dr. Heere will not fail the next equinox to be at his 
post, and you may hear more of him. 

Capt. Miiller is at present with Gauss, and will deliver 
all your messages personally, for you must know I beware 

HAP. vii.] Her Brother's Portrait. 285 

of corresponding with all those known ones if I can possibly 
help it, and have through his hands sent copies of your 
father's likeness to Struve, Schumacher, Gauss, Bessel, 
Encke, Olbers, &c. Gauss sent me word it was hung up in 
his library. Encke sent me a very pretty letter ofjthanks. 

.... That sending is an ugly thing. Mrs. Somerville 
.sent me her book with a letter dated April 16th, which I 
received October 9th, coming along with Mr. Baily's pub- 
lication, presented, by the Lords Commissioners of the Admi- 
ralty to Miss Herschel. You cannot think how agitated I 
feel on such occasions, coming to me with such things ! 

an old poor sick creature in her dotage I was going 

to say something yet of Mr. Baily's labours, but the paper 
is at an end ; but I hope you will now soon read in your 
own library at Slough what the " Quarterly Review," No. 
CIX., says, and what your Cambridge friend Whewell and 
others have said in short, Newton remains Newton ! God 
bless my dear nephew and niece ! . . . . My heart is too 
full I can say 110 more than that 

I am your affectionate aunt, 



HAXOVER, October 20, 1836. 


From June 14 to October the 1st, and not any the 
least account, was rather too much for me to bear, espe- 
cially during the months when those few friends Avho some- 
times cheer me by a friendly call had all left the town to 
make summer excursions 

I have a few memorandums for my nephew, and will for 
the present take leave of my dear niece with my most heart- 
.felt wishes that every future account with which I may yet 
be blessed from her dear hand may be like the last. 

286 Caroline Liicretia Herschel. [1836-1837. 

.... I have four complete years of the "Astronom. 

Nachrichten " ready bound for you I wished to give 

you the number of the paper (but cannot find it again) 
where Bessel speaks of Saturn's satellites, but my eyes are 
so dim, and I am too unwell for doing anything. I will 
therefore only say he has seen the 6th but not the 7th, the 
ring being in the way. In No. 293, two of Bessel's assist- 
ants, Beer and Ma'dler, say a great deal about the observa- 
tions of your father, but that goes all for nothing. I will 
only say in general that he did in one season more than any 
one else could have done, and would have resumed the 
limit the next fifteen years if nothing had interfered. And 
the Georgium Sidus was followed as long as anything could 
be obtained from that planet, and it will } r et be some twenty 
years before he will be in that favourable situation in the 
ecliptic where he was at the time when the satellites were 

I have seen Struve's Catalogue of Double Stars, 
wherein I find he agrees with your and your father's obser- 
vations Do not think, my dear nephew, that I 

would expose myself so as to say a word about these things 
to anybody else, but to you I cannot help letting it out 
when I am nettled. 

I must leave off gossiping, else I shall not get this letter 
awa}', in which you will find Dr. H.'s barometrical observa- 
tions, which I received a few days ago 


CAPE OF GOOD HOPE, Jan. 10, 1837. 


I am now at work on the spots in the sun, and the 
general subject of solar radiation, which you know occu- 

CUAJ-. vii.] Spots in the Sun. 287 

pied a large portion of my father's attention. The present 
is an admirable opportunity for studying these things, as 
the sun is infested now with spots to a greater degree than 
ever I knew it, and they are arranged over its surface in a 
manner singularly interesting and instructive. The sky 
here is so pure and clear in our summer that it would be 
a shame to neglect such an opportunity of making experi- 
ments on heat, and accordingly I have been occupied in 
the December solstice in determining the constant of solar 
radiation, that is to say, the absolute quantity of heat sent 
down to the earth's surface from the sun at noon, or at a 
vertical incidence. 

I do not think I have ever mentioned to you a remark- 
able and splendid instance of liberality on the part of His 
Grace of Northumberland, who has taken upon himself to 
defray the expenses of publishing my observations at the 
Cape, and that in a manner the most delicate and consi- 
derate imaginable. In consequence " my book " will appear, 
when it does appear, under his auspices, and I hope it will 
not do discredit to his munificence. This is not the only, 
nor the most remarkable, instance however, of his attach- 
ment to the cause of science, and his disposition to pro- 
mote and support it. 


March 30, 1837. 


.... I have for the last five months been in con- 
tinued fear of losing Mrs. Beckedorff (to whom I could 
confide all my grievances). She is worn out with a cough 
and breaking up of constitution, and we but seldom can 
come together, which is when I am able to cross the street 

to go to her I experience a daily increase of pain 

and feebleness, so that I am (at least during this severe 


Caroline Lucretia Herschel. 


weather) totally confined to my solitary home ; and what is 
worse, my eyes will not serve me to amuse myself with 
reading. But what business had I to live so very long ? 


FELDHATJSEX, May 7, 1837. 

.... I will try to entertain you with some celestial 
affairs in which it is delightful to find you still taking so 
much interest. As you allude to Saturn's satellites in your 
letter of Octoher 20, I must tell you that I have at last got 
decisive observations of the sixth satellite (the farthest of 
my father's new ones). I had all but given the search up 
in despair, when no longer ago than last Thursday (May 4th 
inst.), being occupied in taking measures of the angles of 
position of the five old satellites with the twenty-foot and a 
polished new mirror, behold, there stood Mr. Sixth ! a little 


short of its preceding elongation. I have kept it well in 
sight from 14 h 26'" Sid. T. till 16 h 35 m , in which time it had 
advanced visibly in its orbit from bdoro, the line of the 

AIISSB (as in figure) to above. In 
this interval the planet had 
moved over fully one diameter of 
the body towards the preceding side, and, therefore, had 




it been a star, must have passed over it, whereas it preserved 
the same apparent distance all the while from the edge of the 
ring. (N.B. Saturn not very far from the zenith on merid.) 
Next night, Friday, May 5, Saturn most gloriously seen : 
quite as sharp as any copper-plate engraving, with power 
240 and full aperture. All the five old satellites seen and 
measured, being now on the opposite side. Now consider- 
iibly short of its greatest following elongation; distance just 

as before ; and, as on Thursday, it was kept in view long 
enough for Saturn to have left it behind by its own motion 
had it been a star. The change of situation agrees perfectly 
with the period l d 9 h , which is also the reason why it was 
not seen May 5th, being on that night near its inferior con- 
junction. So this is at last a thing made out. As for No. 
Seven I have no hope of ever seeing it. 

If your eyesight will not suffer from it, do write to Bessel. 
I am sure he will be interested by this observation, as he is 
the only astronomer who troubles himself about the system 
of Saturn. I shall myself write to him shortly about it, but 
should Hive to have a few more observations. 

So now farewell once more, and, with mairy kind remem- 
brances to all Hanoverian friends, 

Believe me, your affectionate nephew, 


290 Caroline L2icretia Herschel. [issr. 


HAXOVER, June 11, 1837. 

.... From Mr. Schumacher I receive each paper as it 
comes from the press, hut always with a feeling of uneasi- 
ness, because I am not one of those who can contribute 
anything to their valuable communications, nor even under- 
stand all which my defective eyes allow me to read. But 
they interest me exceedingly when I think what you will 
say. For instance, to a paper of twenty-two quarto pages, 
by Bessel, " Uber den Einfluss der Unregelmassigkeiten der 
Erde, auf geodetische Arbeiten und ihre Vergleichung mit 
den astroiiomischen Bestimmungen." * Perhaps you maj- 
have received these papers before this reaches you, but if 
any are lost by the way, I collect them for 3 r ou ; but I fear 
I shall not see the day of all the wonders coming to light 
when yon return with your budget 

.... I must conclude, for writing at any time makes 
me sad ; and since I began this letter the notice of the death 
of our King has arrived, and the Duke of Cumberland has 
been this day proclaimed King of Hanover. It makes me 
feel as if T was doubly separated from England, for your 
King is now no longer my King. And we lose the Duke of 
Cambridge, who Avas ever so kind to me wherever he saw 
me. Last winter he introduced me to his brother, then 
Duke of Cumberland, who was here on a visit, at the 
concert, who spoke to me of you first as my son, but recol- 
lected himself that I was only aunt 

* * -;:- * *- 

I had illuminated my front rooms with twenty candles 
(snuffed them all myself, for Betty was out to see the show) 
on the evening of the King's arrival, and so I shall again 

* " On the Influence of the Irregularities of the Earth on Geodetic Operations, 
and their Comparison with Astronomical Determinations." 

vii. j Sir John Herschel's Return. 291 

next Saturday or Sunday, when the Queen is expected. 
More I cannot do ! .... 

.... My head becomes crowded with melancholy fore- 
bodings of my not lasting so long as to hear of your safe 
return to your home and the friends which I think are only 
to be found in happy England ; so, instead of tracing my 
gloomy imaginations on paper, I go to sleep till Betty rouses 

me with a cup of coffee But all I hear of you is 

told in a tone of admiration, &c., &c., and it is felt by me 
like a drop of oil supplying my expiring lamp. 



Sept. 7, 1837. 


I need hardly say how much we are rejoiced to see 
your handwriting once more, though that joy is damped 
by your complaints of winter indisposition. And such a 
winter! by all accounts. May this prove a better! and 
may we hope to find you in no worse health and spirits when 
we come to see you next summer in Hanover. For so, if it 
please God to lead us safe home, according to our present 
altered plans, we most assuredly propose to do. 

I say our altered plans, for you know our intention was 
to have embarked next March for Rio Janeiro, and there to 
have spent two or three months, after which to have taken 
passage in the Brazilian packet for England, which would 
have probably detained us till October, and have rendered a 
visit to Hanover that season impracticable. But by striking 
off this Brazilian trip, and taking our course directly home- 
wards, so much time will be saved, and all the rest of our 
domestic arrangements become so much simplified that it 
seems like finding a treasure, as a fund of time will thereby 
be placed at our disposal, the first fruits of which, as in 

292 Caroline Lucretia HerscheL 

all love and duty bound, we have determined to devote to 
you; or rather, I should say, that, when in talking over 
with Margaret all the pro's and cow's of the question, 
whether to return home direct, or via Brazil? this conside- 
ration at once decided it in favour of the direct course, her 
desire to see you outweighing every consideration of amuse- 
ment or temporary gratification which a visit to Rio could 
offer. So now be sure, clear aunty, and keep yourself well, 
and let us find you in your best looks and spirits ; and, 
although what you say respecting our good Mrs. Becke- 
dorff's health is somewhat deplorable, j r et I will indulge the 
hope that she too will perform a part in the dramatis 
persona; of that happy meeting. Meanwhile, as the time of 
our departure hence approaches, we shall take care and 
apprise you of all our movements, respecting which it is 
impossible at present to speak more precisely. 


CAMBRIDGE HOUSE, May 18, 1838. 

Having just been informed by the newspapers that 
your nephew is safely landed in this country, I hasten to 
write you a few lines by this night's mail to congratulate 
you most sincerely on this event, which I know will give you 

I am unable to send you any further details about him or 
his family, as I am not aware if he is arrived as yet in 
town, and should this not be the case, my letter will perhaps 
be the first to give you this welcome news, which I shall 
certainly be delighted at. 

I trust you continue enjoying your health; and with best 
wishes, &c., &c., 

Yours most sincerely, 


CHAP, vii.] Return of Sir John Herschel. 293 


LONDON, May 20, 1838. 

Here we are, my dear aunt, at last, safely landed and 
housed, all in good health and, as you may suppose, in 
good spirits at our return. We ourselves and our six little 
ones were very comfortable during our nine weeks' voyage in 
the good ship Windsor, which is lying snug and sound in 
the river at Blackwall, with all our things on board, tele- 
scopes and all (as well as the astronomical results of our 
expedition). We left our ship, however, at the entrance of 
the.Channel, and got to London in a steamer under the flag 
of King Leopold, of Belgium, which, having been to 
Glasgow to take in her machinery, was returning without 
passengers, not yet being fitted up for their reception. This 
was a most opportune and unexpected piece of good fortune, 
as I assure you we found most sensibly, by the non-arrival of 
the ship till this morning, having been four days longer at 
sea, beating about against contrary winds. I have more 
particulars to tell than would fill this paper, which I must 
reserve till our meeting, which will not now be longer de- 
layed than is indispensable for getting our baggage on shore, 
and passing it through the Custom House, and transport- 
ing it by a barge to Windsor, and so to Slough. I hope 
and trust to find you as well in health as your two letters to 
John and Mary Baldwin allow us to suppose 

The visit promised in the foregoing letter was 
paid in July, when Sir John Herschel, accompanied 
by his little son, spent a few days with his aunt, 
whose intense anxiety as to the proper tre t atment 
of her little grand-nephew his sleep, his food, his 
playthings kept her in a constant state of alarm on 

294 Caroline Lucretia Herschcl. [1838. 

his account. " I," she writes, " rather suffered him to 
hunger than would let him eat anything hurtful ; in- 
deed, I would not let him eat anything at all without 
his papa was present." Great as was the joy of the 
dear venerable lady to rest her aged eyes once more 
on almost the only living being upon whom she poured 
some of that wealth of affection with which her heart 
never ceased to overflow, it is on the disappointments 
and shortcomings of those few precious days that she 
dwells ; and, if she could have felt resentment towards 
her nephew, it would have been roused by the abrupt 
termination of his visit. Her lamentations are piteous. 
Solely with the intention of sparing her feelings, her 
nephew went away without letting her know the exact 
time beforehand of his departure, and made no formal 
leave-taking, when he bade her good-night to return 
to his inn. To her infinite dismay and distress, she 
found that he and his son had quitted Hanover at 
four o'clock on the following morning. It was kindly 
intended, but it was a mistake that gave intense pain. 
Her introduction to her little grand-nephew is described 
as follows by his father, H. Herschel : 

.... " Now let me tell 3*011 how things fell out. Dr. 
Groskopff took Willie with him to aunty, but without saying 
who he was. Says she, ' What little boy is that ? ' Says 
he, ' The son of a friend of mine. Ask him his name.' 
However, AVillie would not tell his name. ' Where do you 
come from, little fellow ?' ' From the Cape of Good Hope,' 

CHAP, vii.] Visit from her Grand-nephew. 295 

says Willie. ' What is that he says ?' ' He says he comes 
from the Cape of Good Hope.' ' Ay ? and who is he ? 
What is his name ?* ' His name is Herschel.' * Yes,' says 
Willie, ' William James Herschel.' ' Ach, meiu Gott ! das 
ist nicht mogiich ; ist clieser meines Xeffeii's Solm ?' And so 
it all came out, and when I came to her all was understood, 
.and we sat down and talked as quietly as if we had parted 

but yesterday 

" Groskopff, by the way, was recounting a strange feat 
which, to give you some notion of the sort of fterson (par 
rapport an physique), she performed, not longer than half a 
year ago. Remember it is a person of eighty-eight or 
eighty-nine of whom we are speaking. Well ! what do you 
say of such a person being able to put her foot behind her 
back and scratch her ear, in imitation of a dog, with it, in 
one of her merry moods?" 

The " Day-Book," which, as already stated, had been 
recommenced in the year 1833. The first volume of 
the new Day-Book concludes in May, 1837, with 
comments on Baily's account of Flamsteed, and recol- 
lections of days spent at Greenwich in 1799, when she 
had seen and wondered at the piles of manuscripts 
accumulated there. "Dr. Maskelyne was not indif- 
ferent to the stores of observations of his predecessor, 
for he even attempted to make me undertake the exa- 
mination of some of Halley's scribblings on fragments 
of waste paper [to see if they] might not belong to 
some star or other. But such things cannot be done 
in a moment, and the parcel was restored to its dusty 
shelf. Poor Dr. Maskelyne had but one assistant, 

296 Caroline Lncretia Herschcl. 

with a salary of 70 a-year, whom I once heard lament 
that all the planets happened to pass the meridian in 
the night-time ! " 

The entries are chiefly of the numerous visitors she- 
received, but there are frequent intervals of several 
months when illness or disinclination to write pre- 
vented her continuing her Journal regularly. The 
English Quarterly and Monthly Reviews and news- 
papers, and James's novels, supplied her with constant 
reading, and every allusion to her brother's or her 
nephew's labours is carefully noted. It is evident that 
she still was in the habit of taking ample notes of any 
book that interested her, in spite of complaints of the 
growing failure of sight, and that, when tolerably well, 
no day was considered altogether satisfactory which 
was passed in solitude. It was in May, 1833, that 
she moved to No. 376, Braunschwei^er Strasse, and 
here she continued to dwell for the remainder of her 


HAXOVEU, July 30, 1S3S. 

I hope that when you receive this my dear nephew, with 
his precious charge (little William), will be safely restored 
to your longing arms, and that he may have found you, with 
all the little family, in perfect health. I wish to be assured 
by a few lines from your dear hands as soon as possible, for 
I cannot divest myself of a fear that the botheration and 
intrusion of some of the stupid Hanoverians must have 

CHAP, vii.] Sir y. Herschel at Home again. 297 

been very inconvenient to him. To which may be added 
the change of weather from excessive heat to very cold 
and wet, to which at this present moment (as far as I know) 
they are still exposed, for I think they must be now in 


LONDON, Aug. 6, 1838. 

Willie and I arrived in London safe and heart}- on 
Friday night about eight o'clock, and I am happy to say we 
found all here quite well both mamma and all the little 
folks, who, as }*ou may easily imagine, were in great joy, and 
full of enquiries about you and about all our adventures in 
foreign parts. Grandmamma Stewart, and all her circle 
also, with exception of poor James S. (who is, however, 
much better, and we hope permanently), are well, and join 
us in kind enquiries after you. I found here my cousin, 
Thomas Baldwin, and his excellent and most amiable wife- 
Cousin Mary had left us, and was returned to Anstey. 

I found Dr. Olbers well, and have to thank you, in his. 
name, for the Cape wine, a bottle of which was produced at 
dinner the day I dined there. I assure you it was drank in 
good company, being associated (not mixed) with Hock of 
240 years of age ! ! Dr. O. is weak and corpulent, but is. 
otherwise in the full enjojnnent of his mental faculties, and 
in good spirits. 

I could not persuade myself to encounter a regular parting- 
with you, and, in fact, I found the distance to Bremen so. 
much greater, on enquiry, than I had fancied it, that it was 
necessary to leave Hanover at four a.m., which, of course, 
prevented all further meeting. "We shall be most anxious 
to hear from you. M. will write in a day or two (and so 
will the children) to thank you for all your kind remem- 

298 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [isss. 

brances of them, and for the many pretty and valuable 
tilings you have sent ; and till then, believe me, 
My dear aunt, 

Ever your affectionate nephew, 



HAXOVEI;, Aug. 21, 1838. 

By the arrival of your letter of the 6th I was re- 
lieved from my fears for the safety of you and your dear 
little fellow-traveller, almost a week sooner than I had 

reason to hope. 


.... I had so longed for a few hours of confidential 
conversation with you which would have spared me the un- 
pleasant task of writing about earthly matters My 

good neighbours came to wish me joy, and congratulate me 
on having seen my glorious nephew and his son (who has 
left no few admirers behind, I can tell you). 

Dr. Muliry has lost a sister, a solitary old maid, like my- 
self, whom they could not leave till she was buried. But 
she was in some respects better oif than I, for I found it 
necessary to order all these matters myself. Miss Becke- 
dorff and Mde. Snipping will at my death have to deliver a 
sealed packet to Dr. Groskopff, my executor, in which, 011 
his opening in their presence, he will find the means requi- 
site for discharging all the items specified in an enclosed 
.memorandum of directions. Such matters I had wished to 
talk over with you, thinking it not unnecessary you should 
know a little about the way in which I have always managed 
my aifairs. As soon as I was left to myself, in the year 
1788, I kept a book strictly accounting for my expenses, 
which \vas to serve as a voucher of the orderly life I led. 

CHAP, vii.] Letter to Lady Herschel. 299 

But being frequently under the necessity of assisting one or 
other of my, as I thought, poor (but say extravagant) rela- 
tions, I began to keep a spare box, by way of showing to 
what extent I have thus robbed myself. .... I am sorry 
to trouble you with such details, but I find myself so unwell 
at present that I cannot rest till I have cautioned you not 
to ask any question about me of any one, for nobody knows 
anything about me my confidence in Mrs. Beckedorff, even, 
can only be partial, as we can only see each other so 


HAXOVEG, Sept. 24, 1838. 

# * * * * 

I see by the postscripts you directed my nephew to add 
to your letter that you know exactty what will make his 
poor old aunt happy ; and I must beg you to make my peace 
with my dear little William, for I fear the angry looks I gave 
him when seeing him climbing too high on an open window 
two stories above the pavement, can have left no favourable 
impression on his recollection. Unfortunately we could not 
converse together : he talked too soft and quick for me (I 
do not hear so well as formerly), and my mixture of German 

and English was not intelligible to him Had the 

knitting with beads been known forty years sooner, it would 
have been one of the accomplishments with which I came, 
at the age of twenty-two, into England in 1772, for there 
was no kind of ornamental needlework, knotting, plaiting 
hair, stringing beads and bugles, c., of which I did not 
make samples by way of mastering the art. But as it was 
my lot to be the Cinderella of the family (being the only 
girl) I could never find time for improving myself in many 

300 Caroline Lucretia HerscheL [isss. 

things I knew, and which, after all, proved of no use to me 
afterwards, except what little I knew of music, being just 
able to play the second violin of an overture or easy quar- 
tette, which my father took a pleasure in teaching me. 
N.B. When my mother was not at home. Amen. I must 
think no more of those times, only just say I came to Bath 
with a mind eager to learn and to work, and never changed 
my mind till I came here again, but now I can no more. 
.... One thing I must tell my nephew, which is, that I 
hope I have found a deserving protector of my sweeper in 
Director Hausmann, and I hope either himself or his son 
will find us a few comets with it yet. He is a constant 
visitor of mine. 


SLOUGH, Nov. 26, 1838. 

I have received a letter from Sir "Win. Hamilton, 
Astronomer Royal, Dublin, informing me that the Royal 
Irish Academy have elected you an honorary member of that 
bodjr. The diploma is by this time on its way to my care, 
and I will, so soon as I receive it, take the very first secure 
opportunity of {transmitting it to you. 

Yesterday I received your most welcome letter and Mr. 
Bagulawski's in one. I wrote to him some time ago rela- 
tive to Halley's comet. He seems a very diligent observer, 
and I am glad you have seen him. 

Your letter of September 24th, with its numerous dates, 
was like a little diary, and almost made us fancy ourselves 
with you in Hanover 

I am sony to see, on looking at my banker's account, 
that you have not (as you promised to do) drawn on Cohen 
for the 50 of this half year. Pray do, and that soon, or I 
shall be sadly disappointed. 

<'HAP. vii.] Elected Hon. Member of the R. A. /. S. 301 

We have got a most excellent president for the Royal So- 
ciety in the Marquis of Northampton. He presided at the 
anniversary dinner on the 30th, and did the honours with 
great credit. 

A Copley Medal was awarded to Gauss for his researches, 
theoretical and practical, on the subject of terrestrial mag- 


HAXOVEU, Dec. 17, 1838. 

First and foremost let me dispatch what may he 
called business. In the first place, I thank you for your kind 
letter and communication of having so great an honour con- 
ferred on me as to be admitted an honorary member of the 
Royal Irish Academy. I cannot help crying out aloud to 
myself, every now and then, What is THAT for ? Next I 
must beg you to return my thanks in what words you think 
proper I should express them, and if you will only send 
me a cop} r of the diploma, and keep the original along with 
my other trophies, allowing them perhaps a corner in some 
such box as that your dear mother had for suchlike things, 
for I have no other desire but to be remembered by you and 

Lady H., and your children, for yet awhile 

.... It is a long while since you asked me if I wanted 
any of my Indexes to Flamsteed's Catalogue of omitted 
stars. If there should yet^be any left, I could wish to have 
one or two ; for you hinted to rne I might leave Baily's 
work to the " Archives " here, which I intend to do, and 
then I should like to give an Index along with it. 

302 Caroline Liicretia HerscheL [1839. 


HAXOVEII, Jem. 7, 1839. 

I see, to my sorrow, that my letter was not come to hand 
at the time when you directed the parcel with the diploma, 
which was sent me on the 2nd of January, accompanied by a 
note from the President, which I beg you will answer for 
me, and for that purpose transcribe here the same : 


Dec. 4, 1838. 

" In transmitting to you the accompanying Diploma 
irom the Royal Irish Academy, I wish to be allowed to add, 
as I thus do, the expression of my own high sense of your 
services to Astronomy, and of the eminent degree in which 
you have deserved the present testimonial. 

" I have the honour to be, Madam, c., &c., 



HANOVER, Dec. 1, 1839. 

Do not you think I have been very good to let the 
most dismal month in the year pass without troubling you 
for accounts of the progress my dear niece is making in her 
recoveiy ? 

My dear niece said once, I should write often, and in few 
lines inform her how I go on, so I must say I get up as 
usual every day, change my clothing, eat, drink, and go to 
sleep again on the sofa, except I am roused by visitors ; 
then I talk till I can no more nineteen to the dozen ! 
N.B. I don't tell Jibs, though they may not always like what 
I say. 

I have been twice at the concert, and each time been 

CHAP, vii.] Life ill Hanover. UOS 

honoured with a wie gelits ?* by His Majesty, and the notice 
of many acquaintances whom I have no opportunity of see- 
ing elsewhere, the public concerts being the only place 
where I can go with the least trouble to myself or others. 
You say when I talk of the gelehrten then all goes well, but 

I know nothing about them 

But one piece of news I must tell you, Avhich is, that a 
fortnight after Dr. Macller had been the conductor of Mde. 
AVitte (the Moon) and her daughter to the meeting at Pyr- 
mont, I received two cards, the one, " Professor Dr. Madler,'* 
under it, "Minna Witte-Ferfo&.f The reason Madame 
"Witte gives for this hasty courtship is, that it is Dr. M.'s 
first love, and that he would not wait, so the lady said yes \ 
As you have seen this lad}', I would give you this piece of 


* * * * # 

I beg you will give a true account of my dear niece's and 
the children's health, not forgetting the babe and how she 
will be named, that I may enter the same in my biogra- 
phical account. 

I remain, my dear nephew, 

Your most affectionate aunt, 


The second Day-Book concludes in July, 1839, and 
is in all respects like the preceding one, but contains- 
here and there touches and sentiments of which her 
own words can only do justice. 

Aug. 3rd. I went to buy some clothing for wearing at 
home, and went to my niantua-inaker to give directions. I 
had to climb up to the third story, and I was of course 
quite knocked up when I came home, but it is my intention 

* How d'vc do ? t Betrothed. 

304 Caroline Lucretia Herschcl [i 839-1840. 

to continue to take some exercise as long as the weather 
and the length of the afternoon will permit. 

Aug. 26/i. My niece Knipping came in the afternoon to 
assist me in some needlework we did not do much ! 

Sept. 25i/i. To-day I was made happy hy a visit of 
Alexander Humboldt ; which, though it was extended to 
the utmost limit of the time which this interesting man 
could spare me, was too short for all I wished to hear and 
liad to sa} r , which, as the theme of our conversation was my 
nephew, may be easily imagined. 

Oct. 5th & 6th. Mr. Hohemhaum and the carpenter were 
with me to pack up the seven-foot telescope. I assisted as 
well as I could, being very ill all the while. 

Oct. 7th. Dr. G. called for a moment, but nobody else ! 

Dec. WtJi. I went in the evening to the concert, where 
I exposed myself most sadly by falling a-crying when the 
King most kindly came to me to inquire after my health. 
I do not think I shall have the courage to show myself 
there again in a huriy. 

Jan. 27/t. This is the first day since the 30th December 
that the ice is detached from my sitting-room window. 

Jan. 31st. Mr. Hausmann brought me some Journals, 
and talked for an hour of old times with me, as he ever 
does, good man ! 

Feb. 1th. A letter from my niece came this morning by 
the Hamburger post, which will make me happy for some 
time, and make me bear my painful solitude more patiently. 

March 17th. Thank God the 7th and 16th March are got 
over, and I begin to recollect that I have much else to do 
than bewail myself at being obliged to spend such days 
severed from all that arc, or were, so dear.' .... I found 
my poor friend [Mrs. Beckedorff ] very much altered, but 
before I left her I thought she looked a twelvemonth 
younger for our two hours' cltat. But we both were obliged 

CHAP, vii.] Her Day-Book. 305 

to part, for we could no more. Yesterday she sent me 
some fine flowers, as usual on my birthday. Dr. Miihry 
left a card ; two of my nieces called, and Hofrathin 
Ubelode brought me some flowers. They left me fatigued 
to death, to spend the long evening in solitude. 

June 18th. Yesterday Mr. Hausmann came to see me, 
and brought the Philosophical Magazine for June, in which 
I had the pleasure to see that Dr. Lamont has observed 
three of the Georgium Sidus satellites. 

July 3rd.- Dr. G. brought me an extract from The Sun 
that my nephew has been created a baronet on the occasion 
of the coronation. 

July 9th. My nephew arrived in Hanover in the evening. 

July Wth. In the afternoon I saw him and my little 
grand-nephew for a few hours. 

July %5th. My nephew and his son took tea with me, 
and we soon parted, without taking leave, and next morning 
I am told they left Hanover at four in the morning. More 
I cannot say ! 

Oct. 24/j. Mr. Hausmann came in the forenoon and 
took the box with the mirror of my sweeper with him, and 
in the evening he came to receive the stand. I am glad my 
poor sweeper is now in good hands ! 

Oct. 29f/i. Mrs. Knipping* spent an hour with me in the 
dusk of the evening, and read an act of a play. 

Dec. 30th. In the afternoon Friiulein S. came to see me, 
but she is deaf. I talked with her for a couple of hours 
without either of us being the wiser. 

Jan. 5th. Went in the evening to the concert ; had some 
talk with the Levies, who delighted the company with their 
performance, especially the youngest son, eight years of age, 

*Mrs. Knipping was the daughter of Dietrich Hcrschel, and the one of 
the family Miss Herschel loved. 


306 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1839. 

who gave several pieces on the French horn. Conversed 
with several persons besides the Prince Solms. 

Jan. 20/i. I have been to the concert last night to hear 
the wonderful violinist, Ole Bull. It was very crowded for 
the confined room, though the largest in Hanover next the 
play-house. By the help of Miss B. and the M.'s I got 
safely through the crowd to my chair. But I was somewhat 
disappointed, for, by the report of those who had heard Ole 
Bull before, I expected to hear a virtuoso on the violin who 
would have given us an idea of the manner of performance 
of a Jordine, Kramer, Jacob Herschel, and Dietrich too ; 
but it is more like conjuration than playing on a violin. 

Feb. 12/i. Dr. Lissing paid me a visit. He wished me 
to subscribe to a work on Magnetism, but I think it would 
look only like affectation to let my name appear among the 
learned subscribers on a subject of which I know so little. 

March 16th. Mrs. Beckedorff sent me two beautiful 
flowers, accompanied by her good wishes, which she never 
forgets to do on my birthday. Mde. Knipping, and others, 
came to wish me to live many more years, but what can 
I say ? 

March 23rd. I was at the last subscription concert. 
His Majesty was there, and asked me how I did ? I said, 
tolerably ! This was all our conversation. 

July IQth. The whole of yesterday I had no other pro- 
spect but that it would have been the last of the days of 
sorrow, trouble, and disappointment I have spent from the 
moment I had any recollection of niy existence, which is 

from between nry third and fourth year In the night 

I fell out of one fainting fit into another, and when I came 
to my recollection, between six and seven in the morning, 
I found Dr. G. sitting before me talking loud in his usual 
nonsensical way. Him had Betty called in her fright, for 
his wife (who is of use to nobody) is gone to spend the 

CHAP, vii.] End of Day-Book. 307 

summer months in the country. Mde. Knipping also is 

July 25f/i. Mr. Hausmann, junior, and Mr. Hohenbaum 
called to look at the photographic al drawing. I am told it 
is the only specimen of the kind in Hanover. 

This Day-book, No. 2, is now full, and I shall not be easy 
till it is deposited in a portfolio, in which will also be 
found the Mem.-book 9 It often enables me to con- 
tradict erroneous impertinent notions concerning my brother 
William's disinterested character. 

I am now not able even to look over, much less to correct, 
what I have scribbled, but it must go as it is. Perhaps my 
dear niece may look into them at some leisure moment, and 
she will see what a solitary and useless life I have led these 
seventeen years, all owing to not finding Hanover, nor any- 
one in it, like what I left, when the best of brothers took 
me with him to England in August, 1772 ! 


SLOUGH, Oct. 23, 1839. 

.... Now let me reply to your two letters of 
August 26 and October 10, the last of which, being so 
entirely in your old style, made us very happy. I now go 
so little to London, and then only on the business of the 
Royal Society respecting this magnetic expedition, that it 
has not yet been practicable for me to call on Dr. Kiiper, 

!whom I well remember, however, at Cumberland Lodge, 
and since. 
As to sending either of our boys to Germany, it is time 
enough, as "W. is yet only six years old, and I assure you he 
is now learning German very fast. 

M. desires me to tell you, in answer to your question 
whether she preserves your letters, that she does so, mots 

x 2 

308 Caroline Liter etia Herschel. [1840. 

carefully. She is sorry she omitted saying so in her last, 
in which she replied to everything else. So do I, you may 
be sure. 

The Fables arrived safe, and W. must thank you for them 
himself, as well as for your care of him in Hanover. 

I had the honour to meet at dinner, at Sir Gore Ouseley's, 
the other day, H.E.H. the Duke of Cambridge. He was 
very particular in his enquiries after you. He is quite well, 
and his affable and agreeable manners make him generally 

Your letter of October 10th relieved us of much uneasi- 
ness, after the alarming account with which the former one 
was filled. When you once more begin to write about die 
Gelehrten, &c., I know all is well. So God bless you, and 
believe me, 

Dear aunt, your affectionate nephew, 



Jan. 10, 1840. 



Perhaps you may have heard that in the early part 
of its [the forty-foot telescope's] existence, " God save the 
King " was sung in it by the whole company, who got up 
from dinner and went into the tube, among the rest two 
Misses Stows, the one a famous pianoforte player, some of 
the Griesbachs, who accompanied on the oboe, or any 
instrument they could get hold of, and I, you will easily 
imagine, was one of the nimblest and foremost to get 
in and out of the tube. But now ! lack-a-day ! I can 
hardly cross the room without help. But what of that? 
Dorcas, in the Beggar's Opera, says, " One cannot eat one's 
cake and have it too !".... 

CHAP, vii.] Anecdote of the Old Telescope. 309 

I will only thank you once more for your charming letter, 
and beg to be kindly remembered to all who are dear to you, 
and to give an embrace extraordinary to the dear little ones 
around you, and not forgetting to include my dear nephew 
in the general hug ! and believe me, 
My dearest niece,] 

Yours and his most affectionate aunt, 


P.S. - One anecdote of the old tube (if you have not 
heard it) I must give you. Before the optical parts were 
finished, many visitors had the curiosity to walk through it, 
among the rest King George III., and the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, following the King, and finding it difficult to pro- 
ceed, the King turned to give him the hand, saying, " Come, 
my Lord Bishop, I will show you the way to Heaven ! " 

This was in the year 1787, August 17th, when the King 
and Queen, the Duke of York and some of the Princesses 
were of the company. 

I hope the book where the visitors were noted, has been 
preserved ? Some time after it was kept by other hands ; 
but before I parted with it, I copied some pages which put 
me sometimes in mind of persons who were interesting to 

These scribblings will come to you among the rest of 
my scraps. Good-bye ! 


HANOVER, Jan. 10, 1840. 


.... For the last month past I have been so much 
disturbed and fatigued by visitors who came to wish me a 
happy New-year, &c., for I have of late gained the 

310 Caroline Lucretia HerscheL [1840. 

acquaintance of half a dozen ladies, added to two who were 
in the habit of visiting me between the hours of twelve at 
noon and six or seven in the evening ; [for the first two or 
three hours, after having passed a sleepless night, I am 
obliged to spend in the manner as perhaps you may have 
seen Lord Ogleby did in The Clandestine Marriage]. 

But now, from seven to eight till between eleven and 
twelve, I am left to amuse myself as well as I may, but it is 
no easy task to turn books into companions by one who has 
no eyes left ; but there is no help for it. There is neither 
man, woman, nor child in Hanover to be found but they 
must spend the evening at balls, plays, routs, clubs, &c., 
and not a month goes over one's head without a jubilee 
being celebrated at enormous expense to someone who has 
fifty years enjoyed title and salaries for doing his duty (any- 
how, perhaps). 

But what a contrast between a jubilee auf der Borse* at 
Hanover and the one at Slough, t described in your letter 
with which I was made happy January 4th. The company 
so select for I figure to myself none but angels from above 
were listening to, and joining their kindred in the chorus 
below ! . . . . Before I take leave of this jubilee I must 
beg the excellent poet of the song to accept my hearty 
thanks for remembering me so kindly in verse 4, and for not 
letting the poor forty-foot telescope! depart in silence. 

* On the Exchange. 

f The whole family party assembled at Christmas in the tube of the great 
telescope, and sang a ballad composed for the occasion. 

J " The telescope, as you know, is laid on three stone piers horizontally. 
It will be fresh painted to-morrow, and afterwards every three or Tour years, 
as it wants it, and it looks very well. The observatory will remain nearly as 
it is. The apparatus of the telescope is inside of the tube, and will be riveted 
up from all intruders. And all the polishing apparatus is fixed on the spot." 
Letter of Sir John Herschel, Feb. 28, 1840. 

The great mirror is now put up in the hall of the house " Herschels " at 

CHAP, vii.] Misfortunes of Friends. 311 


AprilS, 1840. 


Your delightful letter of March 8th, which I received 
about a week after that of my dear nephew, could never 
have come at a more needful time for chasing away the 
melancholy impressions my friends' losses and misfortunes 
have had on my spirits. On the 7th of March Dr. Muhry 
came to wish me joy on my nephew's birthday. Nine days 
after, when they all used to come and bring me flowers, 
&c., the whole family were thrown into despair by the death 
of Dr. C. M., who died by his own hands (thirty-four 
years old). About a week before I had spent an evening 
with him at his grandmother's, when he begged me to thank 
my nephew once more for giving him a letter of introduction 

to Dr. , at Oxford. This poor man was spoiled by 

being made too much of from his infancy. As a boy of 
seven or eight, he was brought to England to visit his 
grandmother and aunt, and was loaded with costly presents 
by the Princesses, and fed with nothing but dainties, till, 
when grown up, nothing but what was most extravagant 

would satisfy him. The 30th of March our friend P 

was buried, eighty-three years old. On my birthday a cir- 
cular letter came by post, announcing Dr. Olbers's death. 
So, I must say once more, my nephew's and your dear letter 
came very seasonably to turn my thoughts to something 
more cheering 

Now I am in two minds whether I shall turn to my dear 
niece or have done with you first. But out with it ! I would, 
if you have no objection, draw on Mr. Drummond for <52, 

Slougli, by the present tenant, Mr. Montressor, who has spared no pains 
to do honour to the relics as well as to keep up the character of the old 
fashioned "habitation," which owes much to the taste and judgment he haa 
bestowed on it. 

312 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1840. 

and if I should (as it seems) live to the age of Methusalem, 
come again for the same sum after the 10th of October 
next. For this is quite enough for me to live with credit, 
and more would only be a trouble to me. 

I am tired, and can write no more just now, but for our 
amusement I will, some time or other, give you the history 
of the few days you were in Hanover, in July, 1838. For 
all that past w r as like Sheridan's Chapter of Accidents. If I 
could only have had a few hours' of private conversation with 
you then, much trouble would since have been spared me. 

I hope to have soon some account of how your new situa- 
tion agrees both with papa, mamma, and the little bodies. 
How many English miles is it from London ? 

.... My sweeper, which I should have been so happy 
to put in the hands of my little grand-nephew, and teach him 
to catch comets till he could do something better (0 ! why 
did I leave England !) is now in the hands of the good, 
honest creature, Director Hausmann, and the seven-foot tele- 
scope is also saved from being sold for an old song. . . . 


July 6, 1840. 


But at another time, when perhaps I may find myself a 
little better, I will amuse my dear niece with introducing 
some of my acquaintances to her notice. Some of the 
family of General Halkett,* at least, she will not be dis- 
pleased at knowing personally. Last night the sister of 
the general, Mrs. W. Clarke, t a widow, sat an hour with 

* General Baron Hugh Halkett, a distinguished officer of the German 
Legion, died 1863. 

t Miss Herschel gave special directions that, after her death, her snuff-box 
should be given to this lady. 

CHAP, vii.]' Her Seven-foot Telescope. 313 

me, and said she would next summer visit her late husband's 
relations in England, and then she would not fail of seeing 
you. You must love her for my sake, for she really takes 
some pains to give me pleasure, bringing me flowers, taking 
me an airing in her fine English equipage, &c. I must not 
forget the general's lady, a second wife, of course a step- 
mother of my young friend. She is Scotch (a Graham), 
and brought me little Christmas pies in her reticule on 
New-year's Day, of the young lady's making the only good 
kind I have tasted in Hanover, and they were as good as my 
nephew's mamma ever made. 


August 3, 1840. 


.... But first and foremost, I must beg you will 
give my best thanks to my dear niece Caroline for her very 
sensible and very clever letter, and I only wish I may be 
often favoured by her fair hands with such favourable 
accounts of all your health and contentment with your new 

I am not able to write long letters, and must content my- 
self with saying, in as few words as possible, that if my nephew 
thought the seven-foot telescope worth the acceptance of the 
Royal Astronomical Society, it is well ! . . . . (Mem. Its 
only being painted deal was, because it should look like the 
one with which the Georgium Sidus was discovered.) 

I have also the proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 
to thank you for, twenty pages. I suppose I have nothing 
to do but to accept them. But I think almost it is mocking 
me to look upon me as a Member of an Academy ; I that 
have lived these eighteen years (against my will and inten- 
tion) without finding as much as a single comet. But no 
more of these terrible eighteen years just now 

314 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1840. 

My dear nephew, if I did not feel myself seriously de- 
clining very fast, I would not incommode you at present 
(when your time must be so precious) with such letters as 
my two or three last have been. 

But going many nights to bed without the hope of seeing 
another da} r , I think it my duty to guard you against put- 
ting any trust or confidence in . He and the whole 

family have never been of the least use to me ; and for all 
the good I have lavished on them, they never came to look 
after me, but when they had some design upon me. 

In short, I find that all along I have been taken for an 
idiot, or that at least I am now reckoned to be in my 
dotage, and therefore ought not to be mistress of my own 
actions. But, thank God, I have yet sense enough left to 
caution you against being imposed upon by a stupid being 
who would make you believe I died under obligations to any 
of the family. I know he has already, without asking my 
leave, passed himself off for my guardian, and is vexed at my 
being able to do without him. But I could not live without 
that little business of keeping my accounts ; and by my last 
book of expenses and receipts may be seen, that I owe 
nothing to anybody, but to my dear nephew many many 
thanks for fulfilling his father's wishes, by paying for so 
many years the ample annuity he left me. 


August 10, 1840. 

.... The telescopes are now, I trust, properly 
disposed of. Mr. Hausmann (who will value it) has the 
sweeper. The five-foot Newtonian reflector is in the hands 
of the Royal Astronomical Society, and will be preserved 
by it as the little telescope of Newton is by the Royal 
Society, long after I and all the little ones are dead and 

CHAP, vii.] Christmas in Hanover \ 315 


Dec. 27, 1840. 

.... There is another circumstance on which 
account I feel not very easy, which is that by leaving Slough 
you are separated from all your usual friends, &c., doctors 
and all ; but pray keep up your spirits, for the clays are 
already a cock's stride longer, and my windows have now 
been covered with ice for the last three weeks, which is long 
enough in conscience; therefore I hope to see a change 
every morning when I can get my eyes open, which is never 
the case till near eleven o'clock. 

There have been some English gentlemen with Mrs. 
Beckedorff on business, who, in conversation, among the 
rest, were saying that the keeping Christmas in the Ger- 
man fashion was coming to be very general in England ; 
but I hope they will never go such lengths in foolery as 
they do here. The tradespeople have been for many 
weeks in full employ framing and mounting the em- 
broideries of the ladies and girls of all classes, for there 
exists not a folly or extravagancy among the great but it is 
imitated by the little. The shops are beautifully lit up by 
gas, and the last three da} r s before Christmas all that 
could be tempting was exhibited in the market places in 
booths lighted up in the evening, where all run to gaze 
and get a liking to all they see. Cooks and housemaids 
present one another with knitted bags and purses, the 
cobbler's daughter embroidered neck-cushions for her friend 
the butcher's daughter, which are made up by the uphol- 
sterer at great expense, lined with white satin, the upper 
part, on which the back is to rest, is worked with gold, 
silver, and pearls. 

But I find too much difficulty to write in these short 
days, else I could write a book about the nonsense which 

316 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. 

is going on in this city. I have for this last month heen 
completely tired out with this Christmas bustle ; but now 
the balls at the Bourse, given by the shopmen to the 
daughters of their masters, will be succeeded by the 
masquerades in Lent, an amusement which in the good old 
times was only for the nobility, but from which they are 
now excluded 


Sept. 1, 1840. 

.... I owe you many thanks for relieving me two 
whole days sooner from the anxiety of having been mis- 
understood by you, and now I am happy, and all is well I 
But there are times when I should like to have some talk 
with you or my dear niece, to put you in mind of many past 
events, but if you will excuse the style and the spelling, &c., 
&c., on account of my eyesight being so uncertain, I will at 
times try to amuse you with what passed in old times, for 
my memory is as good as ever [this is in her ninety-first 
year]. (N.B. Year of the past.) Writing this, puts me in 
inind that I never could remember the multiplication table, 
but was obliged to carry always a copy of it about me. 


August 10, 1840. 

.... Did I ever tell you that I had lately brought 
together the observations of four or five years, proving 
beyond all doubt a Orionis to be both a variable and a 
periodical star, and one of the most remarkable among 
them ? Its period is about a year, and it changes in that 
time from a lustre superior on some occasions even to 
Eigel, to a' degree of brightness nearly on a par with 

CHAP, viz.] Concerning her Brother. 317 


Feb. 24, 1841. 

I intended to have made some remarks to you about 
several things which are said in those pages which came 
enclosed in the letter of February 3rd. I suppose it is not 
expected to acknowledge the receipt thereof, but if there 
is anybody to whom my thanks are due, I beg you will do 
it for me, because I am not capable of writing to strangers. 
But to you I cannot help pointing out several things which 
displease me very much 

I think whoever reads the Preface to the description of 
the forty-foot telescope (see " Philosophical Transactions," 
June 11, 1795), would not accuse him of jealousy 
which also may be seen by the four volumes on the con- 
struction of Specula, which your father left behind in MSS., 
(to which you added those excellent drawings of the ma- 
chinery, &c.), which it was my care, for half a dozen years 
at least, to save them from being devoured by the mice, by 
placing them on a table in the middle of the library, where 
I was obliged to leave them when I left Slough, for I could 
not find a better place for them. 

Your father was latterly most miserably stinted for room, 
and I fear many, many things have met with destruction in 
consequence of being put by in corners among rubbish 
when not in use. For instance, when polishing and the foci 
were to be tried, by three apertures [tubes], which generally 
wanted to be repaired first ; (for the twenty-foot they were 
made of pasteboard, but for the forty-foot of light deal) 
and I was directed to hold them before the mirror, and, 
listening to the report of the trial, was glad to hear " All 
right, three foci perfectly alike ! " and the work proceeded 
to perfect the polish. Dear nephew, I stick fast, and must 

318 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1841. 

give over talking about these things ; it downright fatigues 
me. But these folks would not have called the Herschelian 
construction useless if they had seen the struggle, during 
the years from 1781 to '86, to get a sight of the Satel- 
lites of the Georgium Sidus, when, after throwing aside the 

speculum, they stood broad before us Pray, does 

South live still ? 


March 31, 1841. 


Not to send blank paper, I will fill it by copying 
from my Day-book the names of the visitors I had to receive 
on the 16th of March. This I can do mechanically and by 
feeling, and it serves to pass away the time, as I cannot 
see to read for any length of time. 

By way of being ready to see an} r body by twelve o'clock, 
I rose an hour earlier than usual, but before I was dressed, 
Mrs. Beckedorff and Mrs. W. Clarke sent each a beautiful 
moss-rose and card. Soon 1 after, Mrs. Clarke and General 
Halkett came ; Generalin Borse and daughter brought 
violets ; Frau von Both ; Ober Medicinal-Rath Miihry ; 
Miss Beckedorff; Madam Groskopff ; Hofrathin Ubelode 
brought mignonette ; Oberjustiz-Eath von Werloff sent 
crocuses ; Fraulein von Werloff sent a card and hyacinths ; 
Dr. Groskopff, Hauptman Buse, Alexis Eichter, Major 
Miiller ; all these I saw between twelve and four o'clock, 
and several for a good while together. I talked and com- 
plimented myself into a fever, of course "looked blooming," 
and am to live to be a hundred years old. What stuff ! 
After eating my solitary dinner I tried to get a little sleep, 
as I generally do, but before I could compose myself 
enough, two of Major Miiller' 3 sisters came and remained two 
hours with me ; after they left me, Fraulein von Werloff 

CHAP, vii.] Her Ninety-first Birthday. 319 

sent her companion, a Mademoiselle H., and a sister, to 
keep me company till ten o'clock. With difficulty, and the 
help of Betty, I got into bed, but could get no sleep, nor 
the whole day after. 


HANOVER, July 31, 1841. 

If it was not that I ought to thank you for your kind 
letter of June 9th, I should perhaps not have now the spirit 
to take up the pen ; but your letters alwa3 r s, especially the 
last, contain, besides the many consoling expressions, such 
very interesting information, that I would not for the world 
risk to lose the monthly sight of your dear handwriting, by 
omitting to return at least my grateful thanks for your kind 
communications of what the present philosophers are about. 

I think I can form some idea of the author of the book 
on philosophy (and godfather of our little Amelia), from 
what I recollect to have read some years past in some 
quarterly publication by a Mr. Newell, in defence of Sir 
Isaac Newton. In short, it met with my approbation ! 
There is for you ! What do you saj T to that ? 

I do not wish to write in what my dear brother William 
used to call a Dick Doleful style, when our brother Alex- 
ander was in the dismals, and out of which we often suc- 
ceeded in laughing him. But I cannot just now turn to 
anything of a cheering nature, for yesterday, the 30th, our 
Queen died, and I have been very unwell in consequence of 
the violent change in the weather 

The following letter refers to the intended removal 
of Sir J. Herschel and his family to Collingwood, 
which he had purchased : 

320 Caroline L^lcret^a Herschel. [1841-1842. 


HANOVER, August 2, 1841. 


.... I could wish to know something more ahout 
the place where you now are.* How many miles is Colling- 
wood from London? How many from Hastings? Have 
you any good people or neighbours about you ? I think I 
read in Watson's Gazetteer, Hawkhurst to be full of poor, 
and, what is worse, of smugglers. Pray take care of the 
dear boys and children, that they are not kidnapped in their 
little rambles from home. 

I can for the present only say so much of myself that my 
friends are almost going to kill me with their visits, like, as 
they say, the cat did her kitten with kindness. On Sunday 
I was even honoured with a visit from the Duchess of 
Anhalt Dessau and the Princess of Eudolstadt the latter a 
little astronomer who remained a whole hour with me. 
They are both daughters of the late Queen. 


HANOVER, Feb. 3, 1842. 

.... Your mentioning the Government gift of the Kew 
Observatorj' to the Royal Society, recalls to my mind the 
struggles through a life of privations during the lapse of 
between twenty and thirty years, till my brother had re- 
alised a capital sufficient for living in a respectable manner 
by making seven, ten, twenty, and twenty-five-foot tele- 
scopes. For it was in 1782 when Mr. De Mainborg, the 
King's private astronomer (formerly one of his tutors) at 
Kew, died, and my brother, in consequence of the discovery 

* The family of Sir J. Herschel had left Slough and settled at Collingwood, 
near Hawkhurst, Kent, now the family residence. 

CHAP, vii.] Concerning her Brother, 321 

of the G. Sidus, was called from liis lucrative employment 
at Bath. His friends had no other idea but that he was to 
succeed Mr. De Mainborg at Kew. But it was otherwise 
decreed, for the King was surrounded by some wiseacres who 
knew how to bargain, and even 100 were offered if he 
would go to Hanover ! 

But you know \>y what I once wrote on a former occasion 
that he settled at Datchet with 200 per annum, after four 
months' travelling between London, Greenwich, and "Wind- 
sor, and moving his workshop and instruments from a house 
at Bath, of which he had a lease. And at Michaelmas, 
1782, was the first 50 he ever saw of the King's money. 
This happened at the time when Parliament had granted to 
the King 80,000 a-year for encouraging sciences. This I 
only knew by what I heard at that time, and that Mr. West, 
E.A., with his giant Judas, Jervis, who made the altar-piece 
for St. George's chapel (which I once heard Mrs. Beckedorff 
say had cost the King 30,000), and Herschel, were the first 
who benefited by this grant. 

I am full of expectation of W.'s promised description of 
the Christmas entertainment ; but put him in mind that I 
do not understand Latin. Of A's Greek, I think I can be a 
judge, knowing the letters of the alphabet in consequence of 

their being used in the astronomical catalogues I 

hope music is still in favour with the family ; often I lament 
that at the time of our quitting Bath in such a hurry my 
brother's musical treasures were scattered, and given to the 
winds. Among the rest there was a song for four voices, 
" In thee I bear so dear a part," which was just going to be 
published by desire, for it was sung by the first performers 
from the London theatres, and encored, between the acts of 
the oratorios. I wrote it out ready in parts during my 
brother's absence ; but he could not find a moment to send 
it off, nor to answer the printer's letters. 


322 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1842. 

Oh ! how I should like to hear some of the glees and 
catches sung by the great and little family in the music-room 
at Collingwood ; but it was not to be ! and I had rather leave 
off and leave some room for the many good wishes to your- 
self, my dear nephew, and all those who are dear to you, 
and believe me, 

My dear niece, 

Ever your most affectionate aunt, 



HANOVER, March 3, 1842. 

.... Nothing runs in my head but what concerns 
my family and connections, and I am at present living over 

again the last eighty-nine years of my existence 

But I will leave off teazing you with these old stories with 
which I am obliged to amuse myself, for I cannot see to 
work or read, and must therefore either sleep or scribble, 
for my visitors come mostly in the forenoon, their evenings 
being taken up with public amusements or private parties, 
of which I have not been able to be a partaker these three 
years, for I see by my account-books it is so many since I 
left off subscribing to the play. But to please Mrs. Clarke 
I made the experiment on the 3rd of February, whether I 
should come home alive after seeing King Charles II. in 
Wapping, acted at the English Ambassador's. Mrs. Clarke 
came about twelve with an invitation from the Honourable 
Mrs. Edgecombe their house not containing a room large 
enough for giving great balls, they contrived this way of 
entertaining the company. The enclosed playbill will show 
the rest. 

There was no time for consulting milliners, and Mrs. 

VII.] Goes to a Play. 323 

Clarke assisted me in looking out something from what I had 
worn some years back, cap and all. (N.B. The latter of my 
own making.) I must give you here a German saying, if 
you do not know it, which is, " Einen jeden Narren gefallt 
seine eigene Cappe!"* but I cannot say that I was much 
pleased with mine, I have so very few grey hairs left, which, 
however, I was told were much admired ! 

Mrs. C. left me with a promise of sending her chair and 
servant at three-quarters past seven, and was waiting in an 
ante-room for me to assist me in getting further, and, 
indeed, the whole evening she did not withdraw her arm 
from me till she had put me in my chair again, and the next 
morning she was with me almost before I was out of bed. 
TheKing, Princess of Riidolstadt, and one of the Princes of 
Solms were among the company, and I did not come home 
without receiving their notice. But I shall not venture on 

such pranks again, I promise you ! 

* -* * * * 

As I am writing this I see it will be my birthday, when I 
shall be ninety -two years, if I live. My nephew's is the 
7th, and he will be fifty, but for all that do not think him 
to be an old man. His father was fifty-four when he first 
saw the light 

The King of Prussia left magnificent presents among the 
courtiers, and Generalin Halkett was here on Sunday, and 
promised to bring me a snuff-box to look at, which the general 
has received. I begged she would not, for the ladies wear 
110 pockets, and lose their purses, &c., as I daily hear by the 
town crier. Their pocketkerchiefs they carry open in their 
hands, which I think very indelicate; I daresay it is not 
the fashion in England 

.... I would not wish on any account to see either my 

* Every fool is pleased with his own cap. 

Y 2 

324 Caroline Liicretia Herschel. [1342. 

nephew or 3-011, my dear niece, again in tliis world, for I 
could not bear the pain of parting once more ; but I trust I 
shall find and know j r ou in the next. And as long as I 
can hold a pen, let us, I beg, commune with one another by 
letter ! 


HANOVER, June 2, 1842. 

A thousand thanks for your kind letter, which con- 
tains ever so much comfortable and satisfactory information, 
such as heart can but wish. . . > . 

I have begun a piece of work which I despair of finishing 
before my eyesight and life will leave me in the lurch. You 
will perhaps wonder what such a thing as I may pretend to 
do [can be], but I cannot help it, and shall not rest till I 
have wrote the History of the Herschels. I began, of 
course, with my father and his parents. My father was 
born in January, 1707, and I have now only got so far as 
the beginning of 1758, and it begins to interest me much, 
but I doubt whether I shall live to finish it, but think it a 
pity it should be thrown away.* .... 

.... Do not forget to thank my little nephew for his 
pretty letter. His description of the method his papa 
makes use of in teaching mathematical figures, I prefer to 
that of his grandfather. He used, when making me, a 

* In answer to this annoimcement her niece wrote : " Herschel bids me say 
he is quite delighted at the idea of your undertaking the family history, but 
he insists upon it that you prove his descent from Hercules, and I dare say in 
this age of relics, we could contrive to find in the rummaging of old traps 
turned out at Slough, a veritable piece of the old dub which has by fortunate- 
accident served as part of the ladders of the forty-foot telescope ! or perhaps 
you remember its slipping down the mouth of the great telescope one night 
when it was turned in the direction of your ancestor's constellation, as a sign 
that he confessed himself outshone by your labours." 

CHAI-. vii.] Regrets. 325 

grown woman, acquainted with them, to make me sometimes 
fall short at dinner if I did not guess the angle right of the 
piece of pudding I was helping myself to ! 


HANOVEU, July 7, 1842. 

I have just now been reading your dear letter of June 
7th once again, but I shall take care not to look into it for 
jet a while, else I run the risk of going mad when thinking 
of my running away from a country where I might have 
been an eye-witness, and sometimes a partaker, of so much 
domestic happiness. But it is no matter now, and of no 
use fretting about it ; I am only sorry I cannot go on with 
my history as fast as I could wish, for I feel too unwell to 
be doing any thing for any length of time 

.... I am glad my dear nephew finds pleasure in 
giving up so much of his valuable time to his dear sons ; 
for my hair stands at an end on hearing what beings are 
continually expelled from our Eton here, all owing to 
ignorant ambitious parents trusting entirely to unprincipled 

Though my poor brother seemed to have no hands in the 
education of his only son, I know, from having been present 
at many private conversations he had with Dr. Gretton, that 
nothing was done without his approbation and advice. 

.... The "Astronom. Nachrichten " have latterly 
been filled with tables and too much mathematic (for me). 
The last numbers, 450, 451, contain an account, by Struve, 
of the purchase of Gibers' books, &c., for the library of the 
Gbservatory at Pultowa. This puts one in mind of Gibers 
saying somewhere, I had discovered five comets. Who 
wanted him to give the number of my comets when he 

326 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1S42. 

kneAv them no better ? As far as I recollect, Dr. Maskelyne- 
has observed them all, and his observations on them are, I 
daresay, all printed in the volumes of the Greenwich Obser- 
vations at least of some he has shown me the proof sheets. 
I never called a comet mine till several post days were 
passed without any account of them coming to hand. And 
after all, it is only like the children's game, " AVer am ersten 
kick ruft, soil den Apfel haben ! "Wo sie denn alle rufen. 
kick ! kick ! und so,"* &c., &c. 

I long for the return of the messenger, for I heard to-day 
that Bessel and Encke were gone to the philosophical 
meeting in England, and I expect to hear a great deal of 
news. But first and foremost I wish to see in your next 
that yourself and my dear nephew, with all the dear little ,. 
little ones, continue to be well and happy 

P.S. My head is full of my History, and I go on but 
slowly, because I cannot sit up for any length of time. I 
am only at my fourteeth year, and have just parted from my 
brother, William Herschel I., who is returned after a four- 
teen nights' visit to us, to England, Leeds in Yorkshire 
(where he must be left for some time), and I cannot go on 
till I have recovered from the parting scene. 

You remember, you take the work in whatever state I may 
leave it, and make the best of it at your leisure. Adieu. 


HANOVEI:, August 4, 1842. 

.... Major Muller is not yet returned, and is not 
expected till September, from his measuring business, and 
besides him there is not one astronomer, or, I may say, 
rational man in Hanover to whom I could apply for infor- 

* He who first cries "Kick ! " shall have the apple. 

CHAP, vii.] A Total Eclipse. 327 

ination in matters which are above my understanding. But 
in my next I hope to say more, or rather a great deal about 
your " Chrysotype," for I had a visit to-day from a Berg- 
Rath- W., who seems to be much interested in these dis- 
coveries How I envy you having seen Bessel the 

man who found us the parallax of 61 v Cygni 

.... I believe I have water on my brains, and all my 
bones ache so that I can hardly crawl ; and besides sometimes 
a whole week passes without anybody coming near me, till 
they stumble on a paragraph in the newspaper of Griithou- 
sen's discoveries, or Lord Queenstown's great telescope, 
which shall beat Sir William Herschel's all to nothing, and 
such a visit sometimes makes me merry for a whole day. 


COLLINGWOOD, Any. 9, 1842. 


M. tells me I must finish this letter with an account 
of the total eclipse of the sun seen at Pavia by Mr. Baily, 
and at Turin by Mr. Airy. At Pavia it was very finely seen, 
and as soon as the sun was totally covered, the dark moon 
was seen to be surrounded with a glory, like the heads of 
saints in old pictures. While he was admiring this, a great 
shout from all the population of Pavia broke out at once, 
which was caused by the sudden appearance of three purple 
or lilac-coloured flames, which seemed to break out from 
the edge of the moon. At Milan the same was seen, and 
the people shouted out " Es lebeii die Astronomen ! " * as 
soon as they saw the flames. 

I am glad you got my Chrysotype pictures safe. The 
present beautiful sunshine has given me an opportunity to 
make great progress in photography, and the enclosed pho- 

* The astronomers for ever ! 

328 Caroline Lucrdia Hcrschel. [1842-1843. 

tograpliic copy of a little engraving or two may serve to 
amuse you. Meanwhile the star reductions are not for- 
gotten. Thirty more sweeps only remain to be reduced, 
and I am already in the engraver's hands with the nebulae 
pictures. And so the world wags with 

Your affectionate nephew, 



.... On the 30th of last month I finished the reduc- 
tions of all my Cape nebulae and double stars, and have got 
all the former and all but a very small number of the latter 
arranged in catalogues in order of Rt. Ascension for the 
epoch 1830, Januaiy 1st. Thus these two most important 
parts of my Cape work are at last secured against loss, and 
it will not be long now before I shall begin to prepare for 
the work of publication in good earnest. I mean as to the 
narrative part. 

Dec. 8, 1842. 


Jan. 12, 1843. 

.... Your nephew sends you his translation of Schil- 
ler's beautiful and instructive poem, " The Walk," in which 
he tied himself down to the original metre, and each 
couplet contains the sense of the corresponding couplet in 
German, so that the full strength of the English language 
was required to do justice to the comprehensiveness of 
Schiller's ideas. There was a beautiful walk up the side of 
Table Mountain which always reminded Herschel of this 
poem, and made him love it ; and lately there have appeared 
in an Edinburgh Review translations of all Schiller's minor 
poems, some of which are well done ; but he thought " The 

CHAI-. vii.] Sir J. Herschel's Translation. 329 

Walk" deserved to be better rendered, so lie set about it, 
and distributed it among his friends as bis Christmas 
sugarplum. The number of interesting autographs, criti- 
cisms, witticisms, c., which have been thereupon returned, 
will make an amusing packet. One lady says (alluding to 
the singularity of the hexameter in English) that she found 
it difficult to get into the step of the Walk ; another, that 
the Walk had got into a Run, it was so often carried off by 
friends from his table ; another, not knowing whence it 
came, intended sending it to Herschel for his opinion on its 
merits! another, while admiring the ideas, says "to the 
verse I am averse" The good Misses Baillie, of Hanipstead, 
have been greatly delighted with it. They desired their 
kindest remembrances to you. 


HANOVER, March 1, 1843. 

.... Nine o'clock in the evening (February 19). This 
is the first moment of quiet after six da} r s in tumultuous 
joys by all living beings, from the most highest to the most 
lowest, and I will give you here an account of what share I 
have had in the rejoicings. In. the first place, I must begin 
with confessing that I have been uncommonly ill of late, 
find nobody came near me to comfort me ; for all niy friends 
were too busy with gala-dresses, or else laid up with colds, 
&c., from shopping in bad weather, and paddling about in 
the snow, and I am at this moment ignorant of how they 
have fared 

I have not time to fill the paper, for my friends begin now 
to take up my little time of my short forenoons, and the 
evenings I cannot see ; so here I send what I have been 
scribbling, and will only add that the enclosed programme 
was sent me, on the 14th by the Crown Prince, who having 

330 Caroline Liter etia Herschel. [1843. 

inquired through somehocly after my health, and hearing I 
was well, and preparing for illumination, was much affected ; 
and yesterday his adjutant, Major Stolzenberg, brought me 
a message from the Crown Prince, including H. E. H. the 

Princess, with a present of their portraits. 




April, 1843. 

Many thanks for your dear letter, which I found on 
my breakfast-table on the morning of the 16th March,* 
.... when the Crown Prince and Princess were announced. 
Mrs. Clarke, who just came in, assisted me to entertain the 
royal and interesting pair for nearly an hour. They came 
in arm in arm, carrying an immense bouquet before them, 
which I heard afterwards they were returning with from the 
hothouses at Herrnhausen. As soon as the Princess was 
placed on the sofa, and I beside the same, the Crown Prince 
drew a chair close to me, chatting and joining in our con- 
versation. I could not help giving the Princess the lines of 
your letter to read, where you mention them so prettily, and 
presenting her with " The Walk," which was lying among 
the flowers and the open letters before us on the table. It 
was a little rumpled in the coming, which she said made it 
the more welcome, as it would remind her of its having once 
been mine. 

I intended to amuse you with the list of the names and 
titles of all the visitors I had to receive on that day, but you 
will find them one of these days in my Day-book ; and I will 
only say that it was rather too much to expect me to be 

* Her 93rd birthday. 

CHAP, vii.] On the Zodiacal Light. 331 

civil to upwards of thirty persons in one day, which lasted 
till evening, so that I had no time to eat a morsel, finding 
myself seriously ill. 

May 4, 1843. 
Memorandum for my next letter, made April 23rd. 

To my Nephew. On reading your letter to the editor of 
the Times, of March 31st, I recollect having written down 
some observations of your father's on the zodiacal light; 
he never lost an opportunity of noticing anything remark- 
able during twilight, or in the absence of nebulee, &c., and 
I remember also his explaining to me another kind of ray, 
which is after sun-setting, reaching up very high ; but this, 
only appears for one or two nights at the equinox : but I have 
forgot all about it, and want only to speak here about a tem- 
porary Index to observations, in which I know a few of such- 
like memorandums were catalogued or earned in their sepa- 
rate books. With this Index your father was never satisfied, 
telling me, " I could not make an Index, it was a task Sir 
I. Newton had found too difficult to accomplish," . . . - 
and he would hardly allow me to make use of this book, 
after calling it a temporary Index. But it has often saved 
me a whole week's poring over the Journals for a memo- 


June, 1843. 

I must write a few lines by way of thanking you for 
your dear letter of May 9th. Your description of the splen- 
did observations which are made on the roof of your own 
mansion, recall the many solitary and, at the same time, 

332 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1S43. 

happy hours I spent on my little roof at Slough, when I was 
not wanted at the twenty-foot. And I cannot help at the 
same time regretting my having spent these last twenty 
years in so useless a manner, between roofs and houses 
which prevent my seeing even an eclipse of the moon when 
in a low part of the ecliptic, it passes away behind the houses 
of my opposite neighbours ; and so did the glorious tail of 
your cornet, of which, however, I have gathered all that 
has been said in the papers, besides what you and my 
<lear nephew have been so kind as to communicate 

I have just been reading part of your dear packet over 
again, and am resolved to follow your advice, and say as 
little of what happens now as possibly I can help, and send 
herewith what I call the first part of my History, of which I 
wish you will in your very next give me your sincere 
opinion. I shall judge by it if I may go on, or lay down 
the pen for ever. 

(I hope the packet containing my brother's biography 
has been safely taken care of among his papers, for I have 
no copy of it ; pray let me know if you have seen such a 
packet, I think it is in quarto, and that I put it in a cover 
like all the MSS.) 

Of the present I can only say that I have been unable to 
do anything beside keeping myself alive, and getting my 
clothes on by twelve at noon, so that I may be able to 
receive anybody who may call on me between that hour and 

eight in the evening. 


This brings to my remembrance, that when I was god- 
mother to Mrs. Waterhouse's eldest sister in 1787, I was 
called away in the afternoon to help my brother to receive the 
Princesse Lamballe, who came with a numerous attendance 
to see the moon, &c. About a fortnight after, her head 
was off. 

CHAP, vii.] On her Recollections. 333 


COLLIXGWOOD, Sept. 13, 1843. 


Again we are rejoiced b}' the sight of your hand- 
writing, and by the admirable and truly interesting History 
of your own younger days, Avhich you have sent with your 
delightful letter, and which arrived perfectly safe, and, you 
may be sure, will be treasured as the apple of the eye, anc( 
often read and re-read. I began the reading of it last evening 
to all your grand-nephews and nieces who are old enoitgh to* 
understand it, and the History of their great-grandpapa's, 
hardships after the Battle of Dettingen, and poor uncle 
Alexander's harsh treatment, and your own quiet, thoughtful 
activity and self-dependence, made on all my hearers, as- 
well as on myself, an impression which I am sure will not 
easily be forgotten, and which I shall take care not to let 
them forget. We all entreat you to continue it, and you 
need not be in any fear about the writing. Your hand- 
writing (Gottlob *) is still excellently good, and there was. 
not a word either in your letter or in the " History" that 

gave me the least trouble to read 

.... I visited in London Mde. Taylor (whom you en- 
trusted with the pictures of your Royal visitors, which are 
very charming things, and seem as if they must be good 
likenesses). I did not find her husband at home, but she 
is a very pleasing person, and pleased me greatly by the 
respectful and friendly way in which she spoke of you. We 
hope to see them here, where they will be much valued, as 
will be the effigy or recollection of everybody that has been 
kind to you, or anything that has given you pleasure. . . . 

The only news I have to send you is that of Capt. Ross's 
safe return with the South Polar Expedition after nearly 
four years' absence, having penetrated to the 79th degree of 

* I thank God. 

334 Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1844. 

"S. Lat., and discovered a new continent full of volcanoes and 
icy mountains, and the true position of the south magnetic 
pole. He anchored his ship upon the spot where the 
Americans sa} r they found land, and found no bottom at 
six hundred fathoms ! 


June 4, 1844. 


.... For these last three months I have not been 
able to add a single line to my Memoir, but what you will 
find among my papers and memorandums ; perhaps your 
daughter Isabella may, for her amusement some time or 
other, correct and write in the clear, my scribblings, for I 
find that in attempting to correct one blunder I am making 
two others in the same line. But I wish you might see, 
by what I say of myself, what trouble and invention it must 
have cost your father to enable me to assist in determining 
the places of all these objects, and I see with pleasure that 

your observations agree so nearh". 


I was going to send, for the amusement of my dear niece, 
some description of what is going on here in Hanover, but 
I find it would be too much for my time and patience at 
present, and will only say that I believe they are all out of 
their senses. 

There is an Eiseribalm * from Hanover to Braunschweig 
just now completed, which has turned them all wild. 
Some hundreds of high officers all (but the King) set off at 
eight o'clock to breakfast with the Braunschweigers, and 
returned with the same at three to dinner (eight hundred in 
number) in the orangery at Herrnhausen, from whence the 
Braunschweigers returned and were at home, I believe, 

again at eight. 

* Railway. 

CHAP. Vii.] The Great Telescope.. 335 

I am too tired at present, else I was going to tell you how 
they are building. Hanover is now twice as large as when you 
saw it last ; nothing hut castles will serve them any longer. 
I have all this from hearsay, for I have not been downstairs 
since February 8, 1842. 


They talk, of nothing here at the clubs but of the great 
mirror and the great man who made it. I have but one 
answer for all, which is, " Der Kerl ist ein Narr !"*.... 


March 4, 1845. 


Have I understood you aright ? Saw you the ther- 
mometer 1^ above zero ? the lowest I have heard of here 
was only 13 below freezing; but we are buried in snow ! 

March 5tli. No alteration in the weather, nor in my affec- 
tion for my dear niece and nephew and their ten children ! 

the first is as cold as the latter is warm ! 


April 29, 1845. 
In his father's library my nephew must have found a 

folio volume of H (an astronomer and copper engraver), 

where, for every hour a distinct picture [of the moon] is 
given. In the Phil. Transactions for 1780, p. 507, is the 
first paper of William Herschel on the Moon. In 1787; 
1792, p. 27 ; 1793, p. 206, measure of mountains, &c. 

Twent} r -three years ago, when first I came here, I visited 
Madame W. (not von) once or twice, saw her observatory 
and a telescope, I believe not above 24-inch focal length ; 
at that time she amused herself with modelling the heads of 
the Eoinan Emperors : her daughter, then a girl, was a poet, 

* The fellow is a fool ! 

336 Caroline Liter etia Herschel. [1846. 

and a portrait of her was "exhibited as a Sappho crowned 
with laurels. 

The great difficulty of writing begins at last to tell 
in Miss Herschel's correspondence. One more letter 
in 1845, is the last of the ample sheets she had been 
used to fill. The monthly report becomes shorter, more 
blotted, and betrays extreme feebleness. On the first 
of October, 1846, she wrote : 


I must not let the messenger go without a line just 
to say that I am still in the land of the living, of which, 
however, I have no other proof than a letter from Baron 
v. Humboldt, inclosing a Golden Medal from the King of 
Prussia. I can say no more at present, and the post will 
not wait, so believe me, my dear niece, yours and my dear 
nephew's most affectionate aunt, 


The following is the letter referred to from Alex- 
ander von Humboldt which accompanied the Gold 
Medal presented by the King of Prussia on the occasion 
of her ninety-sixth birthday : 

BERLIN, Sept. 25, 1846. 

His Majesty the King, in recognition of the valuable 
services rendered to Astronomy by you, as the fellow-worker 
of j'our immortal brother, Sir William Herschel, by dis- 
coveries, observations, and laborious calculations, com- 
manded me, before his departure for Silesia, to convey to 
you, in his name, the large Gold Medal for Science, and to 

CHAP, vii.] Letter Baron Humboldt. 337 

express to you the gratification lie felt that, by God's grace, 
your noble life has been a long succession of years free of 
pain, and that now in your solitude you continue to enjoy 
the reflected glory of the all-embracing knowledge, the 
great labours in both hemispheres, and the profoundly 
penetrating genius of your illustrious nephew, Sir John 
Herschel. To be had in remembrance by an intellectual 
and kind-hearted Prince cannot be a matter of indifference 
to you. He had wished you to receive this little gratifi- 
cation on your ninety-sixth birthday, and by an unfortunate 
mistake the date of Caroline Lucretia Herschel's birth has 
been changed from the 16th of March to the 16th of October, 
and I am the culprit, misled by a misprint in a French 
history of astronomy. I know I may count upon your in- 
dulgence and that of your distinguished family in England. 
I specially deserve such leniency to-day the day on which 
my young friend, Dr. Galle, assistant astronomer in our 
Observatory (to the triumph of theoretical astronomy be it 
said), has discovered the transuranian planet indicated by 
Leverrier as the cause of the perturbations of Uranus. 

With the deepest respect, 
I am your most obedient, although illegible, 


Do not trouble yourself to write to the King; I will 
convey your thanks to him. 

Once more a few lines, begun November 1st, and 
finished December 3rd, were traced, betraying, now 
only for the first time, the apprehension that they 
might be the last, in the words 

Miss Beckedorff shall write for me if I do not get 
better. Loves to all. 


338 Caroline L^Lcret^a Herschel. [1846-1847. 

Even this, the last letter of all, is addressed in a 
large, clear handwriting. Henceforth " the messenger" 
carried no more the large familiar sheet which had 
often been filled at the cost of many days' work and 
frequent re- writing ; but her kind friend, Miss Becke- 
dorfF, wrote a regular monthly report to the anxious 
friends in England, from which the following most 
interesting extracts are taken : 


Dec. 1846. 

.... She said that whilst she was idling away her time 
on her couch she had with her mind's eye set up a whole 
solar system in one corner of her room, and given to each 
newly-discovered star its proper place. She cried when I 
told her again of your and Sir John's solicitude about 
her, &c. 

March, 1847. 

Her likeness has been taken by two young painters 
lately. . . . She was sitting or rather reclining for her 
picture whilst my niece was with her, and the exertion of 
it made her at first nervous and hysterical, but by degrees 
she overcame it, and conversed cheerfully. I am sorry to 
say the drawing which I saw did not do justice to her 
intelligent countenance ; the features are too strong, not 
feminine enough, and the expression too fierce ; but I hear 
the picture which I did not see is more like her. 

March 31, 1847. 

I am commissioned by dear Miss Herschel to send to 
you and for her dear nephew, with her best love, the accom- 

HAP. vii.] Declining Strength. 339 

panying print, which I fear will at first sight not satisfy you. 
The artist has, I believe, imitated the style of the old German 
school of Albert Diirer, resembling more a ' woodcut ' 
than a print, nor does it justice to her fine old countenance. 
Yet it is extremely like in features, expression, and deport- 
ment, her eyes having taken the languid expression more 
from fatigue occasioned by her sitting for the picture, whilst 
she is used generally to recline on her sofa, and I see them 
very frequently sparkle with all their former animation. . . . 
She has, as I predicted, lived to begin her ninety-eighth 
year, and she has stood the exertions and excitements of her 
birthday even better than could have been expected. I saw 
her on the 15th, and again on the 17th ; for knowing that 
Mrs. Clarke, who, like all General Halkett's family, are full 
of kind attentions to her, would act as her aide-de-camp on 
the occasion, I felt that it would only be adding to the 
number of those who must be kindly spoken to if I had 
gone to see her on the 16th. Upon passing the door I just 
saw a beautiful and most comfortable velvet armchair, a 
cake, and magnificent nosegay carried up to her, and soon 
after met the gracious donor, our kind Crown-Princess, with 
the Crown-Prince and the Eoyal child driving to her ; they 
stayed nearly two hours, Miss Herschel conversing with 
them without relaxation, and even singing to them a com- 
position of Sir William's, * Suppose we sing a Catch.' The 
King sent his message by Countess Grote. On the 17th I 
found her, more revived than exhausted, in a new gown and 
smart cap, which Betty provided ; and Betty's own cap was 
new trimmed for the occasion, strictly in keeping with the 
style of her mistress, and I can but again commend the 
judgment and zeal with which she makes her arrangements 
for the comfort and appearance of dear Miss Herschel, and 
for a fit reception of her high and numerous visitors. 

.... I ran over to ask for Miss Herschel's own message 

z 2 

340 Caroline Lucretia, Herschel. [1847. 

before I seal. I am to "give her best love to her dear 
nephew, niece, and the children, and to say that she often 
Avished to be with them, often felt alone, did not quite like 
old age with its weaknesses and infirmities, but that she too- 
sometimes laughed at the world, liked her meals, and was. 
satisfied with Betty's services.", 

.... You may rest assured that she is most carefully 
attended to, and Betty is not only fully to be depended 
upon, but is also extremely judicious, and the only person 
who has gained Miss Herschel's entire confidence and 

approbation I have charged her to come to me 

whenever she sees a possibility of doing anything for her 
mistress's comfort, and, from the girl's unaffected attach- 
ment for her, can quite rely upon her. Dear Miss Herschel 
has, indeed, arranged everything beforehand ; and for years 
past has reserved a sum to answer all calls in the event of 
her death. 

June 29, 1847. 

.... I generally find her dozing, and now always, 
lying on her sofa ; she requires, however, but a very short 
moment to recollect herself, and then enters into a conver- 
sation, of which she takes the greater and by far the better 
part on herself. It generally carries her back to old times 
and events and persons long gone by, sometimes with great 
humour, sometimes with regret ; and when she enters upon 
subjects of vexation, I have the means of restoring cheerful- 
ness and satisfaction by speaking of her nephew and his. 
family. She avoids topics of a directly serious and religious 
nature and is indeed so much alone that she has time for 
these reflections when by herself. 

Dec. 2, 1847. 

A few days ago she talked of her childhood, and even 
sung me a little ballad she had then learnt. 

CHAI-. vii.] Survey of Nebulous Heavens. 341 

While her faculties were equal to the appreciation 
of the gift, she received a copy of Sir John Herschel's 
great work of Cape, Observations. The first of the 
two following letters tells how it was in progress ; the 
next announces its completion ; and thus, by a most 
striking and happy coincidence, she, whose unflagging 
toil had so greatly contributed to its successful prose- 
cution in the hands of her beloved brother, lived to 
witness its triumphant termination through the no- 
less persistent industry and strenuous labour of his 
son, and her last days were crowned by the possession 
of the work which brought to its glorious conclusion 
Sir William Herschel's vast undertaking THE SURVEY 


COLLINGWOOD, Dec. 8, 1846. 

Your letter, which arrived this morning, confirms 
the apprehension which the absence of any news from you 
during the last month had begun to excite, that you were 
unwell, and has caused us the liveliest sorrow. How I wish 
we were near you, that dear M. could be with you and nurse 
you. But the same kind Providence which has preserved 
you so long in health will not fail you in sickness. Mean- 
while, I pray and entreat you not to decline the attendance 
of our good Dr. Miihry, or to avail yourself of any comforts 
that Hanover can afford. We shall look most anxiously 
for further accounts from Mde. Knippng, or if her family 
distresses will not allow her (as you say she has lost her 

342 Caroline Liter etia Herschel. [1847. 

mother very lately), from the kind pen of Miss Beckedorff, 
and I hope they will not wait for the messenger, but write 
by the post, and that immediately, as soon as this reaches- 
your hands. 

Still I trust to see many more letters in your own hand- 
writing, and that the cessation of the very severe weather 
we have had of late will prove beneficial in restoring your 
strength, to enable you to face the farther progress of the 
season, which, if your climate is anything like ours, is always 
worse in February than at Christmas 

I am working still hard at my book (of which you will 
have by this time received the first four hundred pages), but 
I cannot get on quite so fast as I would, and I greatly fear 
it will not be out by Christmas. 


July 11, 1847. 

I send to the messenger who will take this, a copy of 
my " Cape Observations" for you, and I hope it will not be 
too large for him to take. 

You will then have in your hands the completion of my 
father's work " The Survey of the Nebulous Heavens." 

I hope you will be able to look at the figures (the en- 
gravings of the principal nebulas). As to the letter-press, 
the Introduction will perhaps interest you, and I daresay 
Miss Beckedorff or Mde. Knipping will be kind enough to 
read it to you a little at a time. 

A copy is on its way I presume by this time to His Ma- 
jesty the King of Hanover, as a testimony of respect to a 
sovereign who has shown you on many occasions such kind 

Louisa sends you all our news, and the autographs of 

CHAP, vii.] Latter Days. 343 

Struve and Adams, who, with M. Leverrier, are now at 

Adieu, dear aunt, 
From your ever-affectionate nephew, 


But the time was past when such gifts could be 
acknowledged with the old enthusiasm, though the 
faculty to appreciate them had not failed, and we can 
well imagine how nothing in the power of man to 
bestow could have given her such pleasure on her 
death-bed as this last crowning completion of her 
brother's work. 

The Day-book had long ceased. The final entry, 
on 3rd September, 1845, is " Astronomischen Nacli- 
richten * came in." As the letters show, the never- 
failing birthday festival had been gallantly encountered, 
and the accustomed offerings of her many friends with 
their good wishes, always including those of the Royal 
Family, received in the usual place. But the curtain 
begins to descend, and the months to go by with only 
a bulletin to announce that she still lived, and, as the 
following extract from a letter written by her friend 
Miss Beckedorff shows, with unabated will and perfectly 
collected faculties : 

Her decided objection to having her bed placed in a 
warmer room had brought on a cold and cough, and so firm 

* The days on which this periodical arrived are always noted in the Day- 

344 Caroline Liter etia Herschel. [ 1848 - 

was her determination to preserve her old customs, and not 
to yield to increasing infirmities, that when, upon Dr. M.'s 
positive orders, I had a bed made up in her room, before 
she came to sit in it one day, it was not till two o'clock in 
the night that Betty could persuade her to lie down in it. 
Upon going to her the next morning, I had the satisfaction, 
however, of finding her perfectly reconciled to the arrange- 
ment ; she now felt the comfort of being undisturbed, and 
she has kept to her bed ever since. Her mental and bodily 
strength is gradually declining, and although she at times 
rallies wonderfully, we can hardly expect that another 
month will elapse ere I have to make my sad and last 
report. . . . She says that she is without pain ; fever has 
left her, and her pulse is regular and good, though weak at 
times. She still turns and even raises herself without 

assistance, and at times converses with us A few 

days ago she was ready for a joke. When Mrs. Clarke told 
her that General Halkett sent his love, and " hoped she 
would soon be so well again that he might come and give 
her a kiss, as he had done on her birthday," she looked very 
archly at her, and said, " Tell the General that I have not 
tasted anything since I liked so well." I have just left her, 
and upon my asking her to give me a message for her 
nephew, she said, " Tell them that I am good for nothing," 

and went to sleep again She is not averse to seeing 


January 6th. 

Four days later the same kind friend had to tell 
how peacefully and gently the end came at last. 

Jan. 1.0th, 1848. Your excellent aunt, my kind revered 
friend, breathed her last at eleven o'clock last night, the 9th 
of January. . . . She suffered but little, and went t,o sleep 

CHAP, vii.] The Long Life is Ended. 345 

at last with scarcely a struggle. Up to the last moment she 
has had the most undeniable proofs of the affection and 
veneration of her own family and a number of friends, both 
English and German. Mr. Wilkinson, the English clergy- 
man, has been unremitting in his visits, and so kind and 
judicious was his manner, that she received them to the 

last with unfeigned satisfaction At four o'clock the 

guns announced the birth of a young Princess an event 
she had anticipated with much interest; and upon her being 
told of it she opened her eyes for the last time with con- 

The following, translated from a letter of Miss 
Herschel's niece, Mrs. Knipping, to her cousin, Sir J. 
Herschel, is a most precious fragment, expressing the 
sentiments of one who for years contributed to lighten 
the grievous burden of age and growing infirmity by 
her constant affection and appreciative sympathy. 
The regret that so little remains from the same pen is 
enhanced by the fact that no notes, or memorials of 
any kind, appear to exist by which we might hope to 
picture to ourselves one whose unconscious self-por- 
traiture makes us crave to see and know and become 
familiarly acquainted with her, as she was seen and 
known by others. Comparatively recent as was her 
death, to the best of our knowledge all have passed away 
from whose lips we could hope to gather the impressions 
of personal acquaintance. Excepting from the letters 
already quoted on the occasion of her nephew's two 
visits to Hanover, it is not until she lay on her death- 

34G Caroline Lucretia Herschel. [1848. 

bed that we obtain a glimpse of her drawn by any 
other hand than her own. 

January IS, 1848. 

.... I felt almost a sense of joyful relief at the death 
of my aunt, in the thought that now the unquiet heart was 
at rest. All that she had of love to give was concentrated 
on her beloved brother. At his death she felt herself alone. 
For after those long years of separation she could not but 
find us all strange to her, and no one could ever replace his 
loss. Time did indeed lessen and soften the overpowering 
weight of her grief, and then she would regret that she had 
ever left England, and condemned herself to live in a coun- 
try where nobody cared for astronomy. I shared her regret, 
but I knew too well that even in England she must have 
found the same blank. She looked upon progress in science 
as so much detraction from her brother's fame, and even 
your investigations would have become a source of estrange- 
ment had she been with you. She lived altogether in the 
past, and she found the present not only strange but annoy- 
ing. Now, thank God, she has gone where she will find 
again all that she loved. I shall long feel her loss, for I 
prized and loved her dearly, and it is to me a most pre- 
cious recollection that she loved me best of all those here, 
admitted me to closer intimacy, and allowed me to know 
something even of her inner life. 

All the necessary instructions about' her property, 
her house, her burial, she had written years before ; 
even the sum which she considered sufficient had been 
carefully set apart for the funeral expenses, and every- 
thing, down to the minutest trifle, had been arranged, 
so that her executor, Sir John Herschel, might have 

CHAP, vii.] The End of All. 347 

the least possible trouble. She especially prayed him 
not to come should her death occur in the winter ; but 
the reiterated instructions through the long series of 
letters show how keen was her anxiety that whatever 
she possessed of value should pass into his hands, and 
that no one of her Hanoverian connections, with the 
exception of Mrs. Knipping [who, with Miss Becke- 
dorff, was entrusted with her keys], should inter- 
meddle. She desired to be laid beside her father and 
mother, and an inscription * of her own composition 
records how she was her brother's assistant, &c. She 
was followed to the grave by many relations and 
friends, the Eoyal carriages forming part of the pro- 
cession; the coffin was covered with garlands of 
laurel and cypress and palm branches sent by the 
Crown Princess from Herrnhausen, and the holy 
words spoken over it were uttered in that same 
garrison church in which, nearly a century before, she 
had been christened, and afterwards confirmed. One 
direction she could not put on paper, but she desired 
Mrs. Knipping to place in her coffin a lock of her 
beloved brother's hair and an old, almost obliterated, 
almanack that had been used by her father. 

* The inscription is given in the Appendix. 


THE inventory of the books, pictures, &c., in the sitting- 
room of No. 876 Braunschweiger Strass, is too character- 
istic to be omitted. The following is a copy of it : 

Inventory of engravings, all in good black frames, with gilded; 
beads, and glazed : 
My Nephew, J. H. 
My Mother. 

A drawing of Slough, by J. Herschel. 
My Brother, Lithographed. 
Forty-foot Telescope. 

Medallion of Wm. H., by Flaxman, of 1782. 
Ditto, by Lochie, of 1787. 

Engraving of Dr. Maskelyne, and 
Greenwich Observatory (presented to me by himself). 


Bode's Atlas. 

South's Observations on Double and Treble Stars, from PhiL 
Transactions, Vol. I., 1826. 

South's Discordance between the Sun's observed and computed 
Place. 1826. 

On the Elements and Orbit of Halley's Comet, &c., by Lieut. W. S 
Stratford, 1837. 

Preface to, &c., &c., of a General Astronomical Catalogue, by F 
Wollaston, 1789. 

J. H.'s Fourth Series of Observations with a twenty- foot Eeflector, 
containing the places of 1236 Double Stars. 

Stars in the Southern Hemisphere, observed at Paramatta, in New 
South Wales, by J. Dunlop, 1828. 

Astronom. Nachrichtens, from 1833 to 1839, in 7 vols. (half bound). 

Emerson's Treatise of Arithmetic. 

350 Appendix. 

Introduction to Sir I. Newton's Philosophy, with an Essay on, &c., 
by John Eyland, M.A. (Mem. A Keepsake of General Komer- 
zeusky to me, and now the same to my dear Nephew from his affec- 
tionate Aunt, 0. H.) 

Salmon's Geographical and Astronomical Grammar. 

Ferguson's Astronomy. 

Watson's Universal Gazetteer. 

Quarterly Journal, Vol. XII., 1822. 

Quarterly Eeview, July,1832. 

Edinburgh Eeview, January, 1834. 

The Connection of Physical Science, by Mrs. Somerville, 1835. 

Third Vol. of Johanna Baillie's Plays. (Mem. Was given me by 
Lady H. the day before I left England, to remember my friend, J. B. 

John P. Wm. Herschel's Discourses on Nat. Philosophy, which was 
published in Dr. Lardner's Cabinet, and that on Astronomy, I had 
handsomely bound and presented them to the Duke of Cambridge, 
who asked them of me, and would not even wait till I could read 
them through myself. 

Gottinger Anzeigen, 202, 203 Stuck, Dec. 14, 1833. 

J. Herschel's Papers, from January 12th, 1828, to Nov. llth, 1833. 
Bound and directed to the Duke of Cambridge (from C. H.). 

Eighteen of Wm. H.'s Papers, collected and bound in one volume, 
and directed for Hauptman Miiller. 

liber den Neuentdecken Planeten, by Bode, 1784. 

Introduction to English Grammar, by E. South. 

1st and 2nd Vols. of Pfaf s Translation of Herschel's Samptlichen 
Schriften, 1826 (collected works). 

Abominable stuff ! What is to be done with them ? They are so 
prettily bound, I cannot take it in my heart to burn them. 

Landing place and five back rooms contain nothing but what is 
necessary for the convenience of my servant and myself; and is 
mostly bought at the fairs, for a trifling price. (Tables and chairs 
stained like mahogany, the latter with cane bottoms, at 18d. a-piece, 
are, after seven years' use, like new.) 

Landing-place : A clothes-press, a glass globe, a few chairs. 

My Bedroom : A bedstead and bedding, &c. , &c. 70 thl. dressing- 
glass, mahogany frame, plate 22 by 14 inches. (I brought it with me 
from England.) 

A cupboard containing tea things, &c., for company. Urn, tea- 
board, &c., waiter, two teapots, milk-pot, and slop-bason (black 

Appendix. 351 

A few cups and saucers, coffee-pot, two glass plates, one and half 
dozen bishop glasses, tumblers, cake-basket, &c. 

Plate : Ha ! ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Twelve teaspoons, 1 sugar-tongs, 1 table, 1 dessert, and 1 saltspoon, 
4 plated candlesticks, very little used. 

The superscription on the last page is as follows : 

It is a pity that I am not at Slough to put the glazed prints in my 
nephew's study ; and many articles of furniture would be so useful in 
the school-room of my little nephews and nieces. God bless them all ! 


Hier ruhet die irdische Hiille von 


Geboren zu Hannover den 16 ten Marz, 1750, 

Gestorben den 9 tcn Januar, 1 848. 

Der Blick der Verkliirten war hienieden dem gestirnten Himmel 
zugewandt, die eigenen Cometen Entdeckungen, und die Theilnahme 
an den unsterblichen Arbeiten ihres Bruders, Wilhelm Herschel, 
zeugen davon bis in die spate Nachwelt. 

Die Konigliche Irlandische Akademie zu Dublin und die Konigliche 
Astronomische Gesellschaft in London zahlten sie zu ihreu Mitgliedern. 

In den Alter von 97 Jahren 10 Monathen entschlief sie mit heiterer 
Ruhe und bei volliger Geisteskraft, ihrem zu einem besseren Leben 
vorangegangenen Vater Isaac Herschel folgend der ein Lebensalter 
von 60 Jahren, 2 Monathen, 17 Tagen erreichte und seit den 25 te " 
Marz, 1767, hierneben begraben liegt. 


Here rests the earthly exterior of 


Born at Hanover, March 16, 1750, 

Died January 9, 1848. 

The eyes of Her who is glorified were here below turned to the starry 
Heavens. Her own Discoveries of Comets, and her participation in the 

352 Appendix. 

immortal Labours of her Brother, William Herschel, bear witness of 
this to future ages. 

The Eoyal Irish Academy of Dublin, and the Eoyal Astronomical 
Society of London enrolled Her name among their Members. 

At the age of 97 years 10 months she fell asleep in calm rest, and 
in the full possession of her faculties, following into a better Life her 
Father, Isaac Herschel, who lived to the age of 60 years 2 months 
17 days, and lies buried not far off, since the 29th of March, 1767. 



Feb. 4, 1850. 

"... If I have owned my having neglected visiting Sir John's living 
relations, it has not been the same with the churchyard. I have now 
been confined with cold and fever seven weeks, but one of my last 
visits was to our lamented friend's grave, which, with the stone and 
inscription on it, was in perfect order. On the 16th of March I 
intend to have a bush of white roses planted near it, knowing that 
my good mother would have paid her that little tribute had she out- 
lived her revered friend. The white rose she had planted on the grave 
of Mrs. P. (?) in the same churchyard (the mutual friend of both) 
continue to blossom every year, and now are a memorial to me and 
my good mother likewise." 

FROM HERR WINNECKE (Assist. Astron. at PulkoAva. ) 

" Travelling a few days ago through Hanover, I seized the oppor- 
tunity of visiting Miss Caroline's grave. Pastor Eichter, her grand- 
nephew, took me to it. It is in the churchyard of the ' Garten- 
gemeinde,' and in a good state of preservation ; a heavy slab lies on 
it, on which is engraved a long inscription, composed by Miss Caroline 
herself. At the head is planted a rose-bush, from which I gathered 
the leaves which I enclose. I venture also to send two ' shadow- 
outlines ' of Miss Caroline, which I had taken from a silhouette in the 
possession of Frau Dr. GroskopfF." 

June 26, 1864. 



Academy, R. Irish, 300. 
Astronomical Society of London. 221, 

Aubert, Alex., letter from Miss Her- 

schel on discovering her first comet, 

66 ; her third comet, 86. 

Baily, F. , letter from Miss Herschel, 
272-274 ; letter to her with his 
"Account of Flamsteed," 281 ; her 
answer, 282. 

Baldwin, Miss, her marriage, 129 ; 
death, 132. 

Banks, Sir J., letter from "William 
Herschel en his sister's second 
comet, 84 ; from Miss Herschel on 
her third comet, 85 ; and her 
eighth, 94. 

Beckedorff, Miss, letters during the 
latter years of Miss Herschel 's life, 
338-340, 343-345. 

Beckedorff, Mrs., 108. 

Blagden, Dr., letter from Miss Her- 
schel ahout her first comet, 65. 

Brewster, Sir David, opinion of Miss 
Herschel's catalogue of all the star- 
clusters and Nebulae, 145, 146. 

Cambridge, Duke of, letter to Miss 
Herschel on the return of her 
nephew from the Cape, 292. 

Cape of Good Hope Sir John Her- 
schel leaves the Cape, 292. 

Collingwood, the seat of the Herschel 
family, 320. 

Comets, Miss Herschel's first, 64 ; 
second, 80 ; third, 85 ; fifth, sixth, 
93 ; eighth, 94. 

Cumberland, Duke of, proclaimed 
king of Hanover, 290. 

Dessau, Princess of Anhalt, letter to 
Miss Herschel, 267. 


Earthquake at Lisbon, sensation pro- 
duced in Hanover, 0. 

Encke, Prof., letter to Miss Herschel, 

Englefield, Sir H., letter from W. 
Herschel on his sister's second 
comet, 83. 

Epitaph on Miss Herschel, 351. 

Etna, Mount, ascent by Sir John 
Herschel, 173. 

Flamsteed's Catalogue, calculations 

for, 60. 
Forty-foot telescope, 76, 308, 309, 


Gauss, Hofrath, letter from Miss 
Herschel, with her index to Flam- 
steed's Observations, 191 ; his an- 
swer, 195. 

George III. visits the Slough Obser- 
vatory, 104 ; anecdote of, and the 
Archb. of Canterbury, 309. 

Georgian Satellites, the, 74, 305, 

Georgium Sitlus, the, discovered, 39. 

Gloucester, Princess Sophia^ of, visit 
to the telescope, 128. 

Halley's Comet, 283. 

Herschel, Alex., assists his brother 
William, 36, 53, 109, 111, 115, 
122 ; returns to Hanover, 125 ; 
death, 132 ; notice of, 132. 

Herschel, Caroline Lucretia, early 
recollections, 1-28 ; affection for 
her brother William, 9 ; at the 
Garrison school, 11 ; her father's 
careful training, 13 ; typhus fever, 
15 ; confirmation, 17 ; learns dress- 
making, 21 ; accompanies William 
to England, 26-28 ; life in Bath, 
29-50 ; Heimwehe, 33 ; visit to 
A A 




Mrs. Colebrook, 34 ; musical re- 
hearsals, 36 ; reputation as a singer, 
40 ; assists her brother, 42 ; life at 
Datchet, 50 ; accidents, 55 ; Clav 
Hall, 57 ; Slough, 58 ; Flamsteed's 
Catalogue, 60, 61 ; her sweeps, 64, 
146-148 ; first comet, 64 ; salary 
of 501. as her brother's assistant, 
75 ; her eight comets, 80-94 ; lives 
by herself, 95 ; Index to Flam- 
steed's Observations, 96 ; extracts 
from diary, 98-132 ; at Bath, 105 ; 
at Slough, 107 ; removes to Chalvy, 
108 ; resides at Upton, 109 ; re- 
turns to Hanover on the death of 
her brother, 133 ; Recollections, 
133-140 ; her works, 145 ; bitter 
disappointment in her brother 
Dietrich's family, 149 ; letters, 
152 ; Catalogue of the Nebulae, 
181 ; her will, 200 ; presentation 
of the Gold Medal of the Royal 
Astronomical Society, 221 ; her 
portrait, 237, 338 ; Paganini, 247 ; 
her nephew's visit, 254 ; anecdotes 
of his boyish amusements, 259 ; 
Hon. Member of the Eoyal Astro- 
nomical Society, 271 ; letter from 
Mrs. Somerville, 274 ; illumina- 
tion in honour of the Duke of 
Cumberland being proclaimed king 
of Hanover, 290 ; visit of her 
nephew and his son, 293-295 ; Hon. 
Member of the R. Irish Academy, 
300 ; extracts from day-book, 303- 
307 ; anecdotes of the forty-foot 
telescope, 308, 309 ; describes 
Christmas in Germany, 313 ; her 
92nd birthday, 318 ; begins the his- 
tory of the Herschels, 324 ; her 
93rd birthday, 330; the first 
railway between Hanover and 
Braunschweig, 334 ; presented with 
a gold medal by the king of 
Prussia, 336 ; her last letter, 337 ; 
enters her 98th year, 339 ; her 
death, 344 ; funeral, 347 ; epitaph, 
351 ; her grave, 352. 
Herschel, Sir John, first mention of, 
104 ; at Cambridge, 117 ; senior 
wrangler, 120 ; member of the Uni- 
versity of GOttingen, 125 ; ascends 
Mount Etna, 172 ; at Munich, 175 ; 


visits his aunt, 177, 293 ; Secretary 
to the Royal Society, 181 ; at 
Montpelier, 201 ; catalogue of 
double stars, 213 ; his marriage, 
236 ; describes his aunt, 254 ; anec- 
dotes of his boyhood, 259 ; letters 
from the Cape, 263 ; sweeping, 
266 ; the Milky Way, 270 ; Halley's 
comet, 283 ; spots on the sun, 286, 
287 ; Saturn's sixth satellite, 288, 
289 ; returns to England, 292 ; 
created a baronet, 305 ; on the 
Orionis star, 316 ; eclipse of the 
sun in 1842, 327 ; his chrysotype 
pictures, 327 ; translation of Schil- 
ler's " Walk," 328, 329 ; acknow- 
ledges his aunt's history, 333. 

Herschel, Lady, letters from Miss 
Herschel, 152 ct scq. ; her death, 

Herschel, Sir William, early display 
of talents, 3 ; proficiency in music, 
7 ; accompanies his regiment to 
England, 8 ; resides at Bath, 21 ; 
fetches his sister Caroline, 26 ; his 
musical compositions, 36 ; erection 
of the twenty-foot telescope, 37 ; 
discovers the Georgium Sidus, 39 ; 
casting of the great mirror, 43 ; 
goes to London and is introduced 
to the King, 45; Royal Astronomer, 
50 ; limited salary, 50 ; removes 
to Datchet, 50; to Clay Hall, 
57 ; to Slough, 58 ; the Georgian 
Satellites, 74 ; marriage, 78 ; ob- 
servations on his sister's comet, 
84, 85 ; his failing health, 124 ; 
sits for his portrait, 129; death, 

Hesse, Princess of, letter to Miss 
Herschel, 267. 

Humboldt, Alex, von, letter to Miss 
Herschel, with the Gold Medal for 
Science from the king of Prussia, 
336, 337. 

Knipping, Mme., extract from letter 
upon Miss Herschel's death, 346. 

Lind, James, 100. 

La Lande, J. de, letter to Miss Her- 
schel, 89 ; her answer, 91. 





de, letter 

from Miss 

Herschel on being elected Hon. 
Member of the K. A. Society, 271. 

Mars, observations on, 53. 

Maskelyne, Key. Dr., letter from 
Miss Herschel, on discovering her 
second comet, 80 ; on the Index to 
Flamsteed's Observations, 96. 

Nebula, the, 196-198. 
Nebulte, the Cape, and double stars, 

Ole Bull, the violinist, 306. 
Orange, Prince of, at Slongh, 99. 
Orionis, a, a variable and periodical 
star, 316. 

Piazzi, Abbe, at Slough, 55 ; at 

Catania, 173. 
Pigott, Ed., letter to Miss Herschel 

on the Flamsteed Catalogue, 101. 

Eailway, first, betwe en Hanover and 

Braunschweig, 334. 
Ross, Capt., his return with the 

South Polar Expedition, 333, 334. 

Schiller's "Walk," translated by Sir 
J. Herschel, 328, 329. 


Schumacher, Prof., letter from Miss 

Herschel, 260. 
Scorpio, 258, 266. 
Seyffer, Prof., letter to Miss Herschel, 

Somerville, Mrs., letter to Miss Her- 

schel, with her "Connexion of the 

Physical Sciences," 274. 
South, J., his 400 stars, 194; his 

address to the Astronomical Society 

on presenting the hon. medal to 

Miss Herschel, 222-227. 
Stewart, P., letter from Miss Her- 
schel, 277. 

Sun, spots on the, 286, 287. 
"Survey of the Nebulous Heavens," 

the conclusion of Sir W. Herschel's 

vast undertaking, 341. 
Sweepings for comets, 146-148. 

Telescope, the forty-foot, anecdotes 
of, 308, 309 ; its final preservation, 

Watson, Sir W., first acquaintance 

with W. Herschel, 42. 
Wilson, Alex., notice of, 99. 

Zodiacal light, the, 331. 



January, 1876. 


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